• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Outline and asses the biomedical model of health and illness.'

Extracts from this document...


'Outline and asses the biomedical model of health and illness.' (60 marks) 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. ...read more.


Other approaches such as the biopsychosocial model takes a different approach to health and illness. It is not reductionist and attributes ill health to five factors; ecological systems such as the atmosphere, ecosystems and other life forms that we live with, social systems such as our culture and family, psychological systems, like emotion, behaviour, biological systems such as our organs tissues and cells, and lastly physical systems such as molecules and atoms. All of these factors can affect us individually, causing illnesses. These factors can be split into two categories; micro levels, which are physically small factors such as hormones, and macro levels, which are more visible factors such as culture. Taking the example used to illustrate the biomedical model of health, heart disease, may be described by the biopsychosocial model as being caused by; a culture of unhealthy eating or smoking, a family situation where others smoke causing passive smoking, a hereditary disposition to the disease and the patient himself smoking. Ken Browne suggests that putting to much empathises on the social aspects and the expense of the medical model, as medicine has indeed help to contribute to improvements in health, for example childhood inoculation (TB, MNR). ...read more.


This, within the functionalist's perspective, has serious consequences on the functioning of society, for if everyone was sick society would no longer function. It is suggested within this perspective that there is a sub-conscious or conscious desire to be ill. Thus the "sick role" is created, as a functioning role within society. The "sick role" has it's own rights and responsibilities, which include being exempt from work, and pampering from carers. This model suggests that biological analysis alone is inadequate, and suggests that 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. Word count: 1,262 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Healthcare section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Healthcare essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluate Biomedical and Socio Medical models of Health

    4 star(s)

    Also, sit well with the positive concept of health as it shows more focus on getting ill people back to their role in society so it can continue run sufficiently. The advantages of the socio medical model are that it encourages people to live healthy lifestyles and also it looks

  2. Describe the biomedical and socio-medical models of health. Compare patterns and trends of ...

    that there are not any long term side effects, for example, 18 year olds who have it could end up being infertile in twenty years time as a result. Cultural Iatrogenisis - this term means that we are over-concerned with being at optimal health and are scared of illness and

  1. Female hormones

    While certainly most doctors are well-meaning and sincerely concerned about their patients, their primary source of education and product information comes directly from the pharmaceutical companies. Since most women also lack essential education and understanding about their options, menopause can be perceived as a rather frightening and perilous time.

  2. To what extent has the 'Biomedical Model' been challenged by recent developments in the ...

    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, with its individual parts individually treatable. The second conceptual shift that transformed medical thinking was Louis Pasteur's development from the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work