Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models.

Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models.

This study guide is about the biomedical and biopsychosocial health models. Use it to develop essays on biomedical and biopsychosocial health.

The Evolution of The Biomedical Model and Biopsychosocial Model Health Concepts Over The Last Two Decades.

The Evolution of the Biomedical Model Health Concepts

What is the biomedical concept of health?

The medical concept of health is a negative one, implying that health is primarily defined as the absence of sickness. Despite bold efforts by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to argue for a definition of health that includes “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, rather than merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” the majority of medically related thought is still focused on disease and illness. The major goal of this disease model is to discover the underlying pathogenic processes and their specific impacts.

The medical model that is pathologically based and causally specific has become increasingly dominant. Tuberculosis is defined as a disease of the bodily organs caused by exposure to the tubercle bacillus in the medical model of disease. Coughing, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), weight loss, and fever are all indications of the condition as it progresses. The bacillus is the underlying cause of the illness in this concept, and its removal from the body (through anti-tubercular medications) is intended to bring the body back to health.

The symptoms of tuberculosis are also prevalent in other diseases, and the difficulty in attributing symptoms to specific underlying causes has stymied medical progress. Herbalism and homeopathy, for example, are examples of ‘complementary medicine’ that treat symptoms ‘holistically’ rather than relying on the idea of underlying, specific pathological illness causes.

The medical paradigm was essentially individualistic in nature, and it paid less attention to the patient’s social position or the larger environment than previous approaches. This narrowing of focus (towards the interior workings of the body, then to cellular and sub-cellular levels) resulted in numerous advances in understanding and treatment, particularly after 1941, when penicillin was released and the antibiotic era began. However, it was followed by the emergence of a ‘bounded’ medical profession, which could make broad pronouncements on health issues and operate with growing power and autonomy, according to Lawrence. Doctors now claimed exclusive power (jurisdiction) over health and illness, using the medical model of disease as evidence.

As a result of this circumstance, modern citizens were increasingly taught to view their health as a personal affair and their health problems as requiring medical attention. This, according to Foucault (1973), is what makes up the medical gaze,’ which focuses on the individual and the internal processes of the body – its ‘volumes and spaces.’ The modern doctor was less interested in broader factors on health, such as situations at work or in the home.

This ‘look’ (which was later extended to health-related behaviors) provided the foundation for the modern ‘doctor-patient’ relationship, in which all authority over health matters was thought to reside in the doctors’ experience and skill, particularly as demonstrated in diagnosis. This meant that the patient’s perspective on illness and alternative approaches to health was not taken seriously. Indeed, the patient’s perspective was seen to contaminate the diagnostic process, and it was preferable if the patient simply played a passive part. As a result, several sociological perspectives have criticized the medical paradigm’ of disease.

The medical model’s and the medical profession’s influence has been perceived as serving the interests of medical supremacy’ rather than the needs of patients (Freidson 1970/1988, 2001) and diverting focus away from the broader determinants of health. However, there are two drawbacks that must be addressed before we proceed. While medicine has continued to focus on processes in the human body in the previous 20 years, such as the chemistry of the brain or the role of genes in certain disorders, the current setting is vastly different from that of the early twentieth century. In countries like the United Kingdom and the United States today, infectious diseases are significantly less of a concern to human health.

The Evolution of the Biopsychosocial Model Health Concepts

What is the biopsychosocial model of health?

The classic biomedical paradigm is based on the Cartesian separation of mind and body and views disease as predominantly the result of damage, infection, inheritance, and other factors. Although this paradigm has been extremely useful in medicine, its reductionist nature hinders it from adequately accounting for all medical aspects of health and illness. An incomplete definition of health is one of the most widely criticized implications of adopting the biological approach. If disease consists solely of somatic pathology—or, more precisely, cellular pathology—then health must entail the absence of somatic signs and symptoms, according to Virchow’s influential work. The World Health Organization, according to this viewpoint, defines health as “the absence of disease.”

George Engel proposed the Biopsychosocial model in 1977, arguing that it is important to examine not only biology but also psychological and social variables when understanding a person’s medical state. The paradigm asserts that the cause, manifestation, and result of wellness and disease are determined by interactions between biological, psychological, and social elements. Engel openly warned of a crisis in the biological paradigm in his classic works, and he conceptualized a new model that considers social and psychological factors to provide a better understanding of the sickness process.

The biopsychosocial model has gained widespread support in recent years in several academic and institutional arenas, including health education, health psychology, public health or preventive medicine, and even public opinion. The interplay of biological, psychological, and social elements is now widely recognized as the cause of illness and health. Many authors are now including mental and social aspects of health in their definitions. In the two decades since Engel’s appeal for a biopsychosocial framework, it’s reasonable to assume that the concept of health, which includes social and psychological aspects, has been extended to practical circumstances.

Discussion and Conclusions

Medicine has utilized a mechanistic view of human nature in western society, at least since the introduction of Cartesian dualism, and has centered its concern upon the illness and its indications. The fundamental explanation for the failure of psychological and social measurements in the reports examined is the biological model’s still deep-rooted dominance, which, despite its reductionism, remains helpful and permits medical breakthroughs. Because of the push for genetic research and medicines in recent years, this dominance has undoubtedly been reinforced. Perhaps holistic and biological-reductionistic models should cohabit rather than compete, as two distinct but not necessarily incompatible approaches to health issues.

However, the effect would be a diminution in biomedical terrain. For starters, clinical and health psychology have shown that they can explain and treat a wide range of somatic complaints. Second, patients who do not find adequate solutions in biological therapy are turning to holistic medical models like Traditional Chinese Medicine or Hanneman’s homeopathy. Third, biomedical care entails massive and quickly rising expenses that are beginning to outstrip healthcare budgets.

Practice Implications of the Evolution of The Biomedical Model and Biopsychosocial Model Health Concepts Over The Last Two Decades

How have the biomedical and biopsychosocial models been applied in practice?

Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models.
Biopsychosocial Health

The biopsychosocial model has been used successfully to get a better knowledge of illness processes and causes, as well as public health, and to improve physician-patient relationships. However, medical practitioners are still hesitant to include it in treatment strategies. Until now, holistic techniques have been limited to chronic illness management, a field of medicine in which recovering health in a biological sense is not the primary goal.

The challenges of transitioning from a biological to a biopsychosocial model of health are widely understood by medical practitioners. First, this shift necessitates taking into account a far broader range of elements that influence health and the healing process, necessitating more knowledge and time investment. Second, the new paradigm necessitates a new patient-doctor connection, one that allows the doctor to pay attention to the patient’s psychosocial circumstances, as well as his or her sickness, in order to better treat the patient’s predicament. This type of contact, without a doubt, necessitates more effort from practitioners, but also from health-care institutions, which must provide the essential context and resources, such as communication skills training, appropriate venues, and sufficient employees.

Despite these obstacles, which will likely continue to relegate the biopsychosocial model to a secondary role in medical practice, expanding the doctor’s perspective to include psychological and social aspects would be extremely beneficial to the patient, because, as Engel pointed out, even if both the patient and the doctor adhere to the biomedical model culturally, the patient’s needs and ultimate criteria are always psychosocial.

Comparison of the Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models

How do the biomedical and biopsychosocial health models compare?

The biological model of illness is a theoretical paradigm that ignores psychological and social elements. This model’s adherents, on the other hand, concentrate solely on biological variables such as microbes and genetics. When diagnosing an illness, for example, most doctors do not inquire about the patient’s psychological or social history. The biological model of disease is often regarded as the most prevalent modern disease model.

Good health, according to this concept, is the absence of discomfort, disease, or defect. It focuses on physical processes that have an impact on health, such as biochemistry, physiology, and disease pathology. It does not take into consideration social or psychological issues.

The biopsychosocial model is frequently contrasted with the biological model. George L. Engel questioned the biological model’s supremacy in an article published in the prestigious magazine Science in 1977. He emphasized the need for a new, more comprehensive paradigm. Although the biological model has remained the dominant model since then, the biopsychosocial model is still used in many professions, including medicine, nursing, sociology, and psychology. Some experts have begun to use a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach in recent years, insisting that spiritual issues be examined as well.

Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models.
Comparison of the Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models

When assessing and treating patients, proponents of the biopsychosocial model, like users of the dominant model, include biological aspects. They do, however, delve into other aspects of the patients’ lives. Mood, intelligence, memory, and perceptions are all psychological aspects. Friends, family, socioeconomic class, and the environment are all sociological influences. Patients are evaluated based on their ideas about life and the possibility of a higher power by those who analyze spiritual elements.

Impairment researchers describe a medical model of disability that is part of a larger biological model. Disability is purely a physical event in this medical approach. According to the medical paradigm, being disabled is a bad state that can only be improved by curing the condition and restoring normalcy to the person.

Many disability rights activists outline a preferred societal model of disability. The medical approach is opposed by this social model. Disability is a variation in the social model, not a good or bad thing. Disability, according to proponents of the social model, is a cultural construct. They point out that a person’s impairment can be reduced without the intervention of a professional and without the disability being cured by changes in the environment or society.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How does the biomedical model shape our understanding of health?

The medical concept of health is a negative one, implying that health is primarily defined as the absence of sickness.

2. How was the biopsychosocial model developed?

George Engel proposed the Biopsychosocial model in 1977, arguing that it is important to examine not only biology but also psychological and social variables when understanding a person’s medical state.

3. How can the biopsychosocial approach to psychology be used in the healthcare field?

The biopsychosocial model has been used successfully to get a better knowledge of illness processes and causes as well as public health and to improve physician-patient relationships.

4. What is the difference between the biomedical and social models of health?

When assessing and treating patients, proponents of the biopsychosocial model, like users of the dominant model, include biological aspects. They do, however, delve into other aspects of the patients’ lives. Mood, intelligence, memory, and perceptions are all psychological aspects. Friends, family, socioeconomic class, and the environment are all sociological influences. Patients are evaluated based on their ideas about life and the possibility of a higher power by those who analyze spiritual elements.

Biomedical and Biopsychosocial Health Models.

 

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