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Medical model: Wikis


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Medical model is the term cited by psychiatrist Ronald D. Laing in his The Politics of the Family and Other Essays (1971), for the "set of procedures in which all doctors are trained." This set includes complaint, history, physical examination, ancillary tests if needed, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis with and without treatment. Sociologist Erving Goffman, in his Asylums, favorably compared the medical model, which was a post-Industrial Revolution occurrence, with the conduct in the tinkering trades (watch, radio, TV repair). The medical model is an approach to pathology that aims to find medical treatments for diagnosed symptoms and syndromes and treats the human body as a very complex mechanism (hence, Goffman's tinkering trade analogy).

Among critics of medical psychiatry, Laing observed that because the diagnosis of a mental illness was based on conduct or patient behavior and not on physical pathology, such a "diagnosis" essentially contravened standard medical procedure and hence the medical model: physical examination and ancillary tests were conducted, if at all, only after the diagnosis was made. Whereas heart diseases, cancers, and broken bones were diagnosed by evident physical pathology discovered during examination and ancillary tests, a mental illness was diagnosed by examining the patient's behavior (paranoid delusions, catatonia, hypermania, etc.) instead of the patient's body tissues.

The medical model drives research and theorizing about physical or psychological difficulties on a basis of causation and remediation.

It can be contrasted with the holistic model of the alternative health movement and the social model of the disability rights movement, as well as to biopsychosocial and recovery models of mental disorders.

Other uses

In modern medicine (2007) a specialist understands and uses the holistic bio-psychosocial approach - Medical model.

"Many people criticize, and psychiatrists apologize, for the use of the 'medical model'. We propose that psychiatrists should use the medical model to improve and validate bio-psychosocial psychiatric medicine..... We propose that the 'medical model' is a process whereby, informed by the best available evidence, doctors advise on, coordinate or deliver intervention for health improvement. It can be summarily stated as 'does it work?'."[1]

See also


  1. ^ The medical model is dead - long live the medical model. British Journal of Psychiatry (2007), 191, 375-377


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