Topics: Medicine, Epidemiology, Disease Pages: 9 (2347 words) Published: November 7, 2014


This essay is about the basic assumptions of the medical model of disease; it will mainly refer to Mildred Blaxter`s work on the lay notion of health. It will define health, illness and diseases; also it will discuss the types of diseases of the body system, the absence of diseases, the lay concepts of positive and negative aspect of health, and the holistic approach, the world health organisation state of health, the strength and weakness and how to prevent diseases will be discuss. I would evaluate the tenets of the medical model in the light of work done by Illitch on iatrogenesis.

Health and disease cannot be defined purely in term of anatomical, physiological, or mental attributes. Their real measure is the ability of the individual to function in a manner acceptable to him or herself and to the group of which he or she is part of. Illness and disease is not the same thing. It is quite possible to feel ill without a doctor being able to diagnose a recognisable disease from physical symptoms, but without a diagnosis it is difficult for doctors to prescribe treatment. Complementary practitioners, on the other hand, work on the principle that health depends on the interaction of body and mind. They consider personality, lifestyle and emotional state, as well as physical symptoms, and this can enable them to tailor treatment to restore the body’s self-healing ability and enhance its natural resilience. Whiles disease is when we feel ill we describe the physical symptoms we have noticed to the doctor, who looks for clinical signs, such as a raised temperature, unusual sounds in the lungs or an alteration in heart rhythm, which we may not have noticed. Blood test and X-ray may be arranged to confirm that the body is working abnormally and the doctor then tries to relate these observations and test results to recognised patterns known to occur in certain named disease. Mildred Blaxter`s (1990), described health as a dichotomy that has traditionally been see between the biomedical or scientific model of health and a looser, more holistic model. These are sometimes wrongly regarded as ` medical` and `non-medical` ways of looking at health. Crudely, medical knowledge is seen to be based on universal, generalisable science, and lay knowledge as unscientific, based on folk knowledge or individual experience. The lay concept of health discussed here is not, however, being presented as necessarily or essentially different from medical concepts. In western societies, an intermixing is inevitable: lay people have been taught to think, at least in part, in biomedical terms. Nor is modern medicine entirely wedded, in practice, to a narrowly-defined biomedical science: holistic concepts are also part of medical philosophy. Lay concepts are, of course, sometimes less informed or expert than those of medical professionals. In other ways, however since health must in part be subjectively experienced, they may be better informed. As other studies have found, they are often complex, subtle, and sophisticated. Health as not ill the more explicit description of health as not being ill as not suffering any symptoms, never having anything more serious than a cold, never seeing the doctor, having no aches and pains has also sometimes been seen as a `negative` concept, in opposition to the positive concept of fitness. It was a more popular definition of health in another person rather than oneself, offering an easy way of ‘proving‘ that the person was healthy. Whiles health as absence of disease and health despite disease it is not always easy, in the respondent’s replies, to distinguish illness from disease. The experience of symptoms or malfunctioning from a more clearly biomedical definition of disease. Disease was specifically mentioned rather rarely, whether for others or oneself, though phrases such as ‘never had to go hospital’, ‘don’t have any really serious illness’, ‘never had any big...

References: Blaxter, M and Paterson, E. Mothers and Daughters: a Three-Generational Study of Health Attitudes and Behaviour, Heinemann, London (1982).
Davey B. et al (1995) Health and disease, A Reader, Buckingham: The Open University Press
McNeill P. (1991) Society Today, London: Macmillan, Vol. 2
S. A. (2008). Simply Psychology; Medical Model of Abnormality. Retrieved 19 January 2012, from ‘5 dimensions of health’
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