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Sociological models of health

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Introduction

´╗┐The biomedical model of health treats an illness as something that is wrong with the workings of the body, caused by such things as germs, disease or accidents, but it does not take into account social or mental factors. It gives doctors a set of guidelines to work to such as putting the patients care as the top priority, to do no harm and to provide a cure if available for the patient. These guidelines may seem obvious to the patient but there are some less obvious guidelines such as no blame must be attached to the patient no matter what the cause or condition of the illness and that the illness is biological and only biological. The focus is on objective laboratory tests rather than the history of the patient. It is these guidelines that make the biological model so effective when treating patients; the biological model is most effective when dealing with illness or disease that has a social stigma attached to it such as HIV it allows the patient to be treated without any assumptions about how they contracted the disease and with the knowledge that the doctor will attach no blame to them they will just treat the illness. ...read more.

Middle

In 1988 Andrew Wakefield a Doctor published an academic journal which suggested that there might be a link between autism and the MMR vaccination, the medical profession quickly sought to discredit his work, but the resulting fall almost 10% in ten years in the number of vaccinations instead of the expected increase showed a lack of trust for the biomedical model and as such the BMA has had to reconsider its approach to alternative medicine and where it had previously been successful in ensuring that only those forms of alternative medicine that conformed to requirements of ?positivistic models of scientific endeavour? (Haralambos, 2008) could be considered for treatment it is now instead of trying to exclude them from practice it has now had to accept more forms of alternative medicine but while still trying to subordinate them. Although the biomedical model still dominates healthcare there is a steady re-emergence of alternative medicine due to a more savvy consumerist approach to health, Cant and Sharma describe the current health care system as one of ?medical pluralism?, by which they mean that there are different health providers and people will not simply choose between them, but use more than one at the same time. ...read more.

Conclusion

They study how individuals who are ill or disabled negotiate their daily lives, social interactions and sense of self and identity this involves three areas of ?work?: illness work, everyday work and biographical work. (Giddens, 2011) Illich (1975) suggested that modern medicine has done more harm than good because of iatrogenesis, or ?self-caused ?disease. Illich argued that there are three types: clinical, social and cultural iatrogenesis. Clinical iatrogenesis is where medical treatment makes the patient worse or may even create new conditions. Social iatrogenesis is where medicine expands into more and more areas, creating an artificial demand for its services. Social iatrogenesis, Illich argued, leads to cultural iatrogenesis, where the ability to cope with the challenges of everyday life is progressively reduced by medical explanations and alternatives. (Polity, 2012) Brown and Harris (1978, 1989) conducted studies on women with depression from different social classes in London; they concluded that two major factors ?life events? had the greatest effect on their mental health, (short term) divorce or (long term) poverty and protection and vulnerability were major factors Brown and Harris concluded that working class women were more likely to suffer from these ?life events? than middle class women, as they were less likely to have the supportive networks around them to help them to cope, therefore they were more likely to suffer from a mental illness such as depression. ...read more.

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