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Medical Are there any diseases, viruses, or ailments of any kind that copy cat others?

  1. Mar 23, 2012 #1
    what I mean by this is ones that sort of act like or become whatever ailment the person thinks of (like a sort of placebo on steroids)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2012 #2


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    There are many ailments that are similar, so tests need to be done to determine which a person actually has. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart.

    Of course a person can imagine themselves having any of the ailments, but no, what they believe does not change what they have.
  4. Mar 23, 2012 #3
    I think that this answers my question, but I'm not entirely sure we are talking about the same thing. What I mean is a disease that would take what the mind acts out from the placebo effect and amplify it to the degree where they actually get the full effect, perhaps even a more extreme form. for example, something smaller like seeing a crazy person and becoming crazy, or something larger like thinking of the symptoms of kidney failure then having them happen thus causing your kidney to actually fail. In other words, it becomes a reality (you don't just think it does, or get minor versions like with the placebo effect)
  5. Mar 23, 2012 #4


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    That's what I said, no this is not possible, you can give yourself self perceived "symptoms" but you cannot actually give yourself the disease.
  6. Mar 23, 2012 #5


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    Men have been known to go thru all kinds of pregnancy symptoms and even labor pains when their wives are pregnant....:biggrin: But no...thinking about kidney failure won't cause them to fail.
  7. Mar 24, 2012 #6
    Advanced Lyme Disease manifests in about a million different ways and can be easily misdiagnosed:


    As the article points out, the symptoms are so all over the place they are often misdiagnosed as psychosomatic or psychiatric. A person might with it might seem to be psychosomatically imitating the diseases they were worried about having.

  8. Mar 24, 2012 #7


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    There are probably some psychological disorders that can act like this i.e. a person with mental health issues is told that their leg is broken and they see and feel the damage of a broken leg. But that would just be perceiving of a symptom, it wouldn't be creating it or the disease.
  9. Mar 29, 2012 #8
    If, by copycat, you are referring to something along the lines of an edible butterfly that has the same color patterns as a poisonous monarch, I have never heard of that. However, it's certainly possible for one ailment to be mistakenly diagnosed as another.
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