The Magic Wand Syndrome

A Short Note about Chronic Illness and the “Magic Wand Syndrome”

I refer to the phenomenon of expecting things to magically get better overnight the “magic wand syndrome”. There is such a sense of relief that comes with the treatment or the proposed cure that sometimes the patient expects to feel a great sense of wellness right away. For instance, for the Cushing’s patient who has a pituitary tumor removed, he/she may expect to feel very good and completely void of symptoms immediately following surgery. As if the surgery is the magic wand that will take away all of the “bad stuff”. However, there can be a great sense of disappointment if symptoms do not immediately decrease or if there is an introduction of new symptoms related to recovery itself.

Also, there are times when patients experience a recurrence or a return of symptoms. In this case, the patient may feel disappointed that the magic cure did not work the first time around. These feelings may be even further heightened by the pressure of family, friends, or loved ones for the patient to get better right away (i.e. expectation to attend all functions all of a sudden). Expectations from everyone must be realistic or disappointment will be experienced.