Medicine and Mental Illness

Topics: Medicine, Mental disorder, Health / Pages: 6 (1413 words) / Published: Jan 4th, 2012
K272 TMA01

Consider the usefulness of a holistic model in explaining the experience of mental health.

A holistic approach to mental illness means that the user’s physical, mental and spiritual health along with the user s state of mind, lifestyle and social factors will all be taken into consideration when analysing them.

Holism refers to treating the whole person. This means that holism feels disease doesn’t just affect the body, but also the mind and spirit as well. It’s said that the five dimensions are all inter related and so if one is c hanged then the other dimensions will all be impacted in some way or another. In a sense I feel that holism is practical as it explores several avenues in order to treat mental illness rather than the bio-medical approach which uses only one.

The World Health Organisation (1946), define health in the following way ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity’. This definition of health supports both the medical and social models. In suggesting that wellbeing is the key to health the definition embraces the idea that in the treatment of illness all factors, social, mental and physical must be taken into account. If this definition is what professional’s base their treatment of mental health upon, then it could be seen that the medical and holistic models are intertwined and should in fact work in harmony. Yet one model holds dominance over the other. It is the medical model which is predominantly used in the treatment of mental health (Bentall, 2003)

The Biomedical Model

The bio medical model evolved as a response to diseases in the 19th century. German psychiatrists then used this model, based on their beliefs and not hard evidence, to categorize the symptoms of mental distress into distinct conditions, one of which was Schizophrenia (Bentall, 2003).The model suggests that mental health is an illness, characterised by specific symptoms that



References: Beresford, P. (2005) Social Approaches to Madness and Distress: User Perspectives and User Knowledge, In J Tew (Ed), Social Perspectives in Mental Health: Developing Social Models to Understand and Work with Mental Distress, London: Jessica Kingsley. Bentall, R. P. (2003) Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature, London: Penguin. Blackburn, (1999) Bowen, P Boyle, M. (2002) Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion, London: Routledge. Giddens, (2006) Harris Et Al (2007) McCullogh Et Al (2005), Pritchard (2006) Muir-Cochrane (2006) Seedhouse (2000 P59-60) Seedhouse (2002 p55) Sokol (2008) Thompson (2006) Toussig (2002 p10) Usher Et Al (2006) Warren (2007) Word Count -1750 including references

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