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I was wondering if anyone knows about a study where people were given a placebo, then told over and over that it was addictive and would have terrible trouble coming off of it. It would be nice if these studies involved a brain scan as well.

I don't want to complicate this post, so I won't give my reason for asking this, but if you're interested I'll add it to the comments.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've edited your title because the expression you used only hit some (unsavory) internet forum posts. $\endgroup$ – Fizz Aug 28 '18 at 22:54
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I'm not aware of a more systematic study, but I'm aware of some (old) case reports, best summarized in this 1978 1-para letter-to-the editor (of AJP):

SIR: I would like to comment on the interesting paper ‘‘A Note on the Addictive Personality: Addiction to Placebos” by Ira Mintz, M.D. (March 1977 issue). Dependence on placebo might not be rare. As far as I know, I published the first case report nine years ago (1). Similar descriptions by Czech authors followed (2, 3). Dr. Mintz’ patients and my patient were schizophrenic, but the other patients never have been psychotic.

REFERENCES

  1. Vinar O: Dependence on a placebo: a case report. Br J Psychiatry 115:1189-1190, 1969
  2. Boleloucky Z: A contribution to the problem of placebo dependence: case report. Activ Nerv Super(Prague) 13:190-191, 1971
  3. Honzak R, Horackova E, Culik A: Our experience with the effect of placebo in some functional and psychosomatic disorders. Activ Nerv Super(Prague) 14:184-185. 1972
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