Biopsychosocial and Biomedical Model of Health

Human beliefs about the causes of illness and injury vary from one era to another. In the Neolithic times (c.a 8000- 9000 b.c ), illness and injury being common phenomena’s, were directly associated to natural events manipulated by higher powers which also controlled climate changes and other natural events. Overtime, healing ceremonies, songs, sacred objects, and incantations were developed as means of pacifying the evil forces which were believed to cause diseases, and illnesses.

Then, during the period of intellectual development, ways of western medicine was first implemented by Hippocrates, who was regarded to as the most celebrated Greek practitioner and till date is known as the father of medicine. Hippocrates helped overcome the superstitious treatment by reinforcing western medical treatment techniques.

Hippocrates applied a practical way of treating unwell individuals, that is, by making observations, such as taking temperature, respiration rate, putting his ear to the patient’s chest to hear the individuals heart beat, moreover, he promoted the idea of prognosis, where a forecast is made of a disease, according to him, this forecast, gave the patient knowledge about his or her condition and indirectly influenced, the being’s mental and physical condition. From these interactions with other people and experiences, Hippocrates wrote about health and healing.

After him came Claudius Galen, a greek physician who referred to disease causing organisms as the source of diseases and illness. These organisms are today called pathogens – bacteria, virus and other infectious agents, until his theory came into light diseases and illness were viewed as consequences of evil acts, and in order to be freed of such acts, the individual was made to repent.

Following which came the period of renaissance, Van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope, which helped look into details of pathogens and their effects, following him, Harvey studied the mechanical principles related to the body, hence, discovering the effects of various illnesses on the body.

Then came Sydenham, who popularized the techniques of clinical diagnosis , by following Hippocrates ways, after whom came lavioser, who described the nature of respiration. Subsequentially, Jenner implemented the practice of vaccination which reduced the occurrence of small pox, by the mid 1800’s Pasteur and Koch made important discoveries about bacterias and diseases.

In 1846 anesthesia was introduced by Morton while roentgen discover X-rays by 1893. By the 1900’s medicine was established as a clinical science, and with the approval of the administration of penicillin by the 1943’s treatment for most of the basic illnesses and infections was achieved.

Things evolved in this century from, leeches sucking blood out of the system transforming into dialysis where, waste products were mechanically filtered out of the body, while ear to heart auscultation was no more a technique in fashion due to the invention of computerized axial tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography.

Clinicians had a wide range of pharmaceutical agents and instruments to conduct a variety of experiments and treatments. New drugs evolved, as did technologies. The 20th century became the era during which medicine was established clinically with surgeries and protection of the World War II soldiers becoming the issue of prime importance. The physical aspects of illness were of great regard.

Surgical methods were practiced on injured soldiers and nutrients were passed through their fluid enemas while fluids were passed through the colons of the ill soldiers. After stepping into the modern era, Max Weber, stated that, it is wealth and god’s graces that determined health, this theory is well applicable till today, where, wealth and health share a positive relationship as education and wealth provide sources for medical treatments and hence good health.

However in many parts of the world, there still existed staunch believers of god, especially Christians, who believed that illness and disease was a pathway to get closer to god, while others contradicting that belief, followed that prayer and good acts result in healing, which in a way conveys the modern ideology of “the power of positive thinking” where, resting and relaxing helps an ill being get well. This supported Sigmund Freud’s proposal of the idea of illness, which stated that, physical illness such as blindness occurred due to stress, harmful social relationships and emotional problems.

However, before Modern Greek theorists studied about the mind and other bodily mechanisms, it was for long believed that animating spirits governed human behavior, their actions and functions. This belief was known as animism; overtime theories and laws regarding physical elements evolved, these laws mainly spoke about inanimate objects while the belief that spirits determined human behavior and actions remained only due to lack of evolution of better explanations that could take over the theory of animism.

Then came Hippocrates and Galen who reformulated the idea and perception of illness and diseases which were previously attributed to behavior as a result of evil spirit or demon possession.; by proposing that an imbalance of humors ( yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood) and that personality was determined on the basis of the levels of these 4 humors, where , if phlegm was the dominant humor the individual tends to be apathic, dominance of blood leads the person to be more cheerful, while yellow bile contributed to anger and black bile led to depressive behavior.

During the middle ages with the growth and the emergence of the church, the Roman Catholic Church had huge influence on the beliefs that enforced into the minds of the people. People were yet again led to believe that human behavior was a result of possession of spirits (good or evil). During this time religious leaders served as both preachers and medical practitioners and the church defied scientific research on human body.

Then arose the theory of dualism by René Descartes, where he stated, that mind and body have independent functions and mechanisms and that the mind was physical much like the machine while the mind which was perceived to be the soul was distinct with its contributions to human behavior. His theory conveyed that, the mind/souls functions determined human’s psychology was influenced by one’s physiological mechanisms. The mind hosed fluid through the nerves of the body that caused the body as a physical entity to function hydraulically.

His theories never went beyond this as the church through its beliefs and the ideas it imposed into the minds of the people created a barrier between such scientific yet real approaches. Psychologists today abide by a monistic theory that conveys, the body and mind depend on each other and cannot be separated, a the mind resides in a portion of the physical body so, they are interdependent.

However, due to the lack of technology to study the minute components of the brain it is not possible to derive a clear cut relation between the mind and body as the functions and the structure of the physical brain and functioning body are yet to be examined. This monistic theory, lead to the conceptualization of the biopsychosocial model.

Health as a discipline is studied under two main perspectives. This scientific based perspective provides and influence explanations, thereby guiding thinking, research and problem solving in certain fields. The two contrasting view points about health are the biomedical model of health and the biopsychosocial model.

The biomedical approach of health is a narrow perspective that encompasses the idea that illness and injury are biological issues with biomedical solutions. People who abide by this model trust that, when an individual is ill or injured it is only the physical aspect of the individual which is affected and must be treated.

This view is extremely mechanistic and has its bases rooted in molecular biology. Moreover the drawback of this model is that it is limited to only examining and treating the individual upon judging the biological condition of the individual and ignores the psychological and socicultural factors that play an important role in diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

It is important to focus on other aspects than just the biological domain of an individual’s health as, it is greatly influenced by attitudes, emotions, personality characteristics as well as the exposure to viruses and bacteria. However with the biopsychosocial model of health is the perspective that includes the concept that, illness and injury have biological, psychology and socicultural components. Thereby, the diagnosis and treatment decisions of this approach must consider all three, that is, biological, psychological, and socicultural condition of the individual.

This model consists of a broader view hence allowing analyses, diagnoses, and treatments of illnesses and injuries to incorporate multiple factors that might influence patients and their recovery. This model aims at identifying the multiple probable causes and multiple solutions for a particular health issue, and comprehends the complexity of health, disease, injury and healing, that is this model suggests that one must identify multiple contributing factors to explain injury and illness.

Assumptions of the biopsychosocial model states that:1, Psychological and physiological processes are closely interrelated. 2, any imbalance in these processes may lead to ill health.3, Relationships between psychological and biological variables are generally bidirectional. 4, Health outcomes may be altered via appropriately designed interventions.

Assumptions of the Biomedical Model, states that:1, all diseases are caused by a specific agent such as germ, virus, and orparasite; by trauma; or by disruption of process at the cellular or molecular level. What is not somatic or not reducible to the level of somatic processes is unexplainable, therefore is not real. As, diseases are universal biological entities, resulting from somatic lesions or dysfunctions. 3, from biomedical perspective the reality should be seen through theglasses of sciences.

The only valuable knowledge is the scientific one. 4,The patient is the passive target of medical intervention, since thebody is regarded as a machine, and it is the body that needs repairing. Restoring health requires (only) the use of medical technology advanced scientific procedures.