I'm just coming out of 4 days of a severe "common" cold.
How severe? Only on Tuesday could I actually talk, and only today did people actually recognize my voice. I sounded like the X-Files "Cancer Man" almost the entire week.
I get several of those colds a year. I blame them on several factors: frequent traveling between different climates; being enclosed for long periods of time in a metal tube with hundreds of people, breathing recycled air; traveling between different time zones (causing your body to be in constant fatigue and more susceptible); and of course, my own unhealthy life style .
While lying in my bed feverish, re-appreciating Sting's song "Every breath you take", I was wondering why the generic cold medications I bought at the supermarket don't work anymore.
I got one of those one-two concoctions (you know, the day-time, non-drowsy, half-dose + night time, double-shot, can't-operate-heavy-machinery type). Well, not only was I drowsy all the time (including one hazy call with a customer - boy, I couldn't understand myself while talking. I'm pretty sure I promised the customer our software can find life on Mars, water in the desert, or something of this caliber ), but I remained at the same congestion level. The freaking meds didn't work .
It could be that my body built tolerance to those medications. It could be a different strain of cold. It could be that the universe is against me. Or it could be I bought a useless drug.
A research that came out 2 days ago, shows that most anti depressants (Prozac, Seroxat etc.) are not better than placebos.
According to this Time article, if you're depressed, you have even chances of feeling better if you take Prozac, or take a sugar cube and believe really hard that you'll get better (the scientific term is "Placebo"). Apparently, drug companies knew this as far back as 1999. But while they have to notify the FDA of every research that shows negative effects of any drug, they don't have to share researches showing that drugs are useless.
As for me, next week I'm planning a trip to London, and no damn nameless bug would stand in my way.
So I got a couple of pounds of oranges, vegetables and a mountain of Kleenex and started treating myself seriously. I had to take something for the fever, and some nasal drops (I still need some air). But other than that, it was all auto-suggestion. I practically talked to myself, convincing myself that I'm getting better, that my fever is dropping, that I can breath on my own. Took 3 days - but I'm much better and will hopefully kick this evil germ by the end of the week.
Bottom line: If you believe you'll get well (and treat yourself of course - your body may still need external support) you have better chances of getting better faster, than by just taking the meds. Or at least, even chances.