Biopsychosocial Medicine: An Integrated Approach to Understanding Illness

Overview

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 wellbeing are key factors in their illness and recovery, along with their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. Biopsychosocial Medicine examines the concept and the utility of this approach, taking the examples of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, ...

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Overview

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 wellbeing are key factors in their illness and recovery, along with their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. Biopsychosocial Medicine examines the concept and the utility of this approach, taking the examples of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome and depression to show how the model can be used in practice. It shows how effective it can be and provides solutions for implementing it in medical practice in all specialties.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book thoroughly covers the topic...The lively discussion folliwng most of the chapters is absolutely enlightening."—Doody's
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book discusses the biopsychosocial model in depth, introduced by George Engel in 1977. It is a holistic approach to medicine, whereby the patient is seen as more than just a collection of cells and organs. It also considers personal history and current life situation as contributing significantly to an individual's health.
Purpose: AAccording to the editor, "this book was written because some people believe that medicine is currently traveling up a 'blind alley' in its attempt to help patients improve their health and reduce their disability. This blind alley is the biomedical approach to healthcare, in spite of the great benefits it has given us. The biomedical approach or model assumes that ill health and disability is directly caused by diseases and their pathological processes. The evidence, some of which will be reviewed in this book, suggests that the biomedical model may not explain much chronic ill health and even less the disability associated with it." This book arose out of a conference held by the Novartis Foundation in London in 2002.
Audience: The publishers state that the book "will be essential reading for all those who feel thee biomedical model is failing them and their patients." In my judgment, professionals in the field (physicians, psychologists, social workers) would benefit the most from this book. However, this material could also be used as part of a graduate clinical psychology (psychotherapy) course and should be "must reading" in medical school. The editor and contributors are credible authorities.
Features: The book thoroughly covers the biopsychosocial approach, discussing both strengths and weaknesses of the model. The writers go to great lengths to inform the reader about how the biomedical model has failed to provide complete healthcare, despite the introduction of extraordinary drugs, which have eased suffering dramatically. The chapters cover both theory and general discussion, trying to integrate the biomedical and biopsychosocial models. There is one chapter on how the biopsychosocial model is applied to a case of irritable bowel syndrome. I enjoyed this book because most of the chapters are followed by a discussion. It's almost like you're at the conference, hearing the experts debate the important issues. It's both fascinating and informative.
Assessment: This book thoroughly covers the topic. I have not seen a book like this in a very long time. Certainly there are books on psychosomatic illness but this one puts it all together nicely. The lively discussion following most of the chapters is absolutely enlightening.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198530343
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/23/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

St Bartholomew's Hospital, London
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Table of Contents

1. The history of the biopsychosocial approach in medicine: before and after Engel, Edward Shorter
2. The theoretical basis of the biopsychosocial model, Helge Malmgren
3. Remediable or preventable social factors in the aetiology and prognosis of medical disorders, Michael Marmot
4. Remediable or preventable psychological factors in the aetiology and prognosis of medical disorders, Andrew Steptoe
5. The biopsychosocial approach: a note of caution, George Davey Smith
6. Can neurobiology explain the relationship between stress and disease?, Stafford Lightman
7. Fear and depression as remediable causes of disability in common medical conditions in primary care, Michael Von Korff
8. How important is the biopsychosocial approach? Some examples from research, Jos Kleijnen
9. Complementary and alternative medicine: shopping for health in post-modern times, Adrian Furnham
10. A case of irritable bowel syndrome that illustrates the biopsychosocial model of illness, Doug Drossman
11. Are the patient-centred and biopsychosocial approaches compatible?, Francis Creed
12. What are the barriers to health-care systems using a biopsychosocial approach, and howmight they be overcome?, Kate Lorig
13. Final discussion: how to overcome the barriers
14. Beyond the biomedical to the biopsychosocial: integrated medicine, Peter White

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