Biopsychosocial Medicine: An Integrated Approach to Understanding Illness

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Psychology - 242 pages
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To what extent do social factors such as stress cause physical diseases? How do psychological and social factors contribute to the healing process? The biopsychosocial model is an approach to medicine which stresses the importance of a holistic approach. It considers factors outside the biological process of illness when trying to understand health and disease. In this approach, a person's social context and psychological well-being are keyfactors in their illness and recovery, along with their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. Biopsychosocial Medicine examines the concept and the utility of this approach from its history to its application, and from its philosophical underpinnings to the barriers to its implementation. It is severely critical of the failure of modern medicine to treat the patient not the disease, andits neglect of psychological and social factors in the treatment of the ill. Focusing on chronic disabling ill health, this book takes the examples of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome and depression to show how the biopsychosocial model can be used in practice. It questions why, even when the biopsychosocial approach has been proved tobe more effective than traditional methods in overcoming these disorders, is not more routinely used, and how barriers to its implementation can be overcome. Controversial and challenging, Biopsychosocial Medicine will be essential reading for all those who feel the biomedical model is failing them and their patients. It will enable readers to understand the model and how it can be implemented, in order to enhance their confidence and success as healthprofessionals.

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The theoretical basis of the biopsychosocial model
Remediable or preventable social factors in the aetiology
Remediable or preventable psychological factors in the aetiology
a note of caution
Can neurobiology explain the relationship between stress
Fear and depression as remediable causes of disability in common
How important is the biopsychosocial approach? Some examples
shopping for health
A case of irritable bowel syndrome that illustrates
Are the patientcentred and biopsychosocial approaches
What are the barriers to healthcare systems using
how to overcome the barriers

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About the author (2005)

Peter White is at Department of Psychological Medicine, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.

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