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The Biomedical Model of Health and Illness

analytical Essay
1050 words
1050 words
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The Biomedical Model of Health and Illness

The most dominant theory in Modern Western medicine of health and

illness, held by many official health practitioners such as doctors,

consultants, and surgeons has been labelled the 'biomedical approach'

or by some as the 'biomechanical model'. The biomedical model presumes

that illness is always due to abnormalities in the body's workings. It

is the basis of modern Western medical practice. It works on the

theory that if a part of the body goes wrong it should be fixed or

replaced, in the same way that a machine would be repaired. It is a

reductionist view of illness. This means that it takes the simplest

possible cause of the illness and applies the simplest cure. It’s

unlike other models such as the social model as that looks to other

factors and focuses on them, such as culture, and social aspects.

The biomedical model has an emphasis on an Illness being treated and

hopefully cured, for example with the use antibiotics can be use to

treat infections. Biomedical treatments often involve the removal of

the cause, for example the virus or bacteria. The biomedical model is

based on the belief that there is always a cure and the idea that

illness is temporary, episodic and a physical condition. Modern

biomedicine rests upon two major developments, both of which remain

influential to this day. It is first important to consider the

Cartesian revolution, after the 17th century French philosophy René

Descartes. The Cartesian revolution encouraged the idea that the body

and mind are independent or not closely related. In this mechanistic

view, the body is perceived to function like a machine, ...

... middle of paper ...

...t social factors need to

be considered. However this “sick role” is a dangerous creation and

could lead to a subculture of “sickness” to which people are drawn to

because of the release from responsibilities. However this perspective

relies too heavily on the “over-socialised” concept of society. Not

everyone accepts and adopts the “sick role”, many would ignore the

role and soldier regardless, and for example many disabled people do

this.

Overall at this point the evidence presented seems to be inconclusive

and unable to support a specific model, within this discussion.

Therefore it’s concluded that there needs to be more of a joint model

of health and ill health such as the new realists approach, which

takes into account both medical and social aspects of health; giving a

more well rounded definition of health.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains the biomedical model of health and illness, which is the basis of modern western medical practice.
  • Explains that the reductionist view of illness is based on the simplest possible cause of the illness and applies the easiest cure.
  • Explains that the biomedical model is based on the belief that there is always a cure and the idea that illness is temporary, episodic and physical.
  • Explains that biomedicine rests upon two major developments, both of which remain influential to this day. the cartesian revolution encouraged the idea that the body and mind are independent or not closely related.
  • Explains that the second conceptual shift that transformed medical thinking was louis pasteur's development of 'germ theory', which claimed that micro-organisms invisible to the naked eye caused disease and could be transmitted.
  • Analyzes how pasteur demonstrated that germs were the cause rather than the product of disease. ken browne suggests that what counts as health and ill health in recent years is influenced by society.
  • Analyzes how trowler points out that people are now treated as objects to be manipulated by medical technology.
  • Explains that the biomedical gives doctors and medical practitioners enormous amounts of power as they have a monopoly of control.
  • Explains that the approach to health and illness is not reductionist and attributes ill health to five factors.
  • Explains that micro and macro levels affect us individually, causing illnesses. the biomedical model of health describes heart disease as being caused by a culture of unhealthy.
  • Opines that ken browne empathizes on the social aspects and the expense of the medical model, as medicine has indeed helped to improve health.
  • Analyzes how sheerman argues that the most extreme version of social construction can be criticised on many levels.
  • Explains that sheerman is critical of the biomedical model, suggesting that illness needs to be treated using science even if socially constructed.
  • Explains that medicine adopts a "mechanical metaphor" presuming that doctors can act like enginners to mend which is dysfunctioning.
  • Analyzes how illich's conflict view suggests that modern medicine can also make people ill.
  • Explains the functionalist's perspectives of health and ill health, defined as anyone unable to perform their social role.
  • Explains that the functionalist's perspective has serious consequences on the functioning of society, for if everyone was sick society would no longer function. the "sick role" is created as a functioning role within society.
  • Argues that biological analysis alone is inadequate, and social factors need to be considered. however, this "sick role" is dangerous and could lead to a subculture of "sickness".
  • Concludes that there needs to be more of a joint model of health and ill health such as the new realists approach.
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