The historical views of health and illness have changed over the years. During the prehistoric years a Shaman was considered a medicine man or priest 17, 000 years ago, and “in religions based on a belief in good and evil spirits, only a shaman (priest or medicine man) can influence these spirits” (Straub, 2012, p. 6). Men and women of this era believed that when an individual became sick he or she was evil or possessed by the devil, and there were no physical explanation.
People who became sick during this period were treated with exorcism, sorcery, or had trephination surgery. Trephination is a procedure where a hole is drilled into the skull so the evil spirits could leave the body of the patient (Straub, 2012). According to historical records, trephination was a popular treatment in “Europe, Egypt, India, and Central and South America” (Straub, 2012, p. 6). 4,000 years ago hygiene became a huge part in health and disease, and attempts were made to improve public hygiene (Straub, 2012).
According to Straub (2012), “The ancient Egyptians, for example, engaged in cleansing rites intended to discourage illness-causing worms from infesting the body” (p. 6). In Iraq (Mesopotamia), soap was made, bathrooms were designed, and public sewage systems were built. During the fifth and sixth centuries B. C. E. Greece and Rome made some huge advances in public health and sanitation. Rome had a drainage system, and the Cloaca Maxima was built to drain a swamp. Later the swamp became the Roman Forum.
By the first century C. E., the Cloaca functioned as a sewage system, and public bathrooms had a small admission charge (Straub, 2012). Rome received its first aqueduct, which provided pure water in 312 B. C. E. There was a group of officials who controlled the food supply. That group made sure of the freshness of meat and other perishable foods, and arranged large amounts of grain storage (Straub, 2012). In ancient Greece during 460-377 B. C. E. philosopher Hippocrates was “was establishing the roots of Western medicine when he rebelled against the ancient focus on mysticism and superstition” (Straub, 2012, p.8).
Hippocrates was considered the “the father of medicine because he claimed that disease is a natural phenomenon and that the causes of disease are knowable and worthy of serious study” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). Hippocrates was known for setting the “foundation for a scientific approach to healing” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). During this era, “physicians took the Hippocratic Oath, with which they swore to practice medicine ethically” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). The oath has been rewritten over the centuries to conform the values and different cultures influenced by Greek medicine (Straub, 2012).
In 1964, Dr. Louis Lasagna of Tufts University wrote a new version, which is used in the United States medical schools. Hippocrates humoral theory was that “a healthy body and mind arose from equilibrium among four bodily fluids called humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). In order for humans to keep the proper balance, humans need to follow a healthy lifestyle, exercise, plenty of rest, and a good diet. If humor becomes out of balance, both body and mind were affected, depending on which of the four humors was in excess (Straub, 2012).
Furthermore, the humoral theory is not used today because of the advances in “physiology, anatomy, and microbiology” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). The concept of personality traits linked with bodily fluids is still considered in people and medicines of various cultures, such as the “traditional Oriental and Native American cultures” (Straub, 2012, p. 8). Throughout the years, it is clear that various diseases cause an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters, proving that Hippocrates was on the right track.
Hippocrates cared about his patients’ emotions and thoughts in relations to their health and treatment. This aspect proposed the psychological factors of health and illness (Straub, 2012). Hippocrates stated “It is better to know the patient who has the disease, than it is to know the disease which the patient has” (Straub, 2012, p. 9). These are just a few examples of how health was viewed throughout history. Behavior medicine in the 1970s explored learned behaviors in health and disease. Neil Miller (1909-2002) performed operant conditioning methods “to teach laboratory animals (and later humans) to gain control over certain bodily functions” (Straub, 2012, p. 14).
Neil Miller how people could have some control over their blood pressure and resting heart rate when they were made aware of the psychological states (Straub, 2012). By 1973, the American Psychology Association chose a group “to explore psychology’s role in the field of behavioral medicine, and in 1978, the APA created the division of health psychology-Division 38” (Straub, 2012, p. 15).
Health psychology was published four years later, and in the book, Joseph Matarazzo who was the first president of the division gave the four goals of Health psychology (Straub, 2012). Those goals were; “etiology: to study the psychological, behavioral, and social evidence of disease, to promote health, to prevent and treat illness, and to promote public health policy and improvement of health care systems” (Straub, 2012, p. 15). In the twentieth century there is a trend of increased life expectancy, rise in strokes and cancer, health care costs rising, and rethinking the Biomedical Model.
Since the nineteenth century the “Biomedical Model of the predominant model has been used by physicians to diagnose diseases” (Straub, 2012, p. 15). “The Biomedical Model states the any individual who has no disease, pain or defect is considered as ‘healthy’” (Straub, 2012, p. 16). This approach concentrates on the physical processes such as biochemistry, pathology, and the physiology of the disease (Straub, 2012). The Biomedical Model is not concerned with the role of social factors or individual subjectivity (Straub, 2012).
The Biomedical Model does not acknowledge that diagnosis is the result of negotiation between the doctor and the patient (Straub, 2012). The Biomedical Model is designed where one can observe the body systems that may work together to make sue the body functions properly. The body is thought of as a machine and when a specific part of the body is not functioning properly it has to be fixed so that the body can function normally again. The Biomedical Model is mainly used in the Western World.
The psychoanalytic theory changed with modern psychology, and Sigmund Freud played a huge role in this change during 1856 through 1939, in conversion hysteria. “According to Freud, speci? c unconscious con? icts can produce particular physical disturbances that symbolize repressed psychological con? icts” (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n. d. , p. 5). Conversion hysteria occurs when a patient modifies his or her conflict into a symptom or the voluntary nervous system. This means that they become nearly free of the anxiety caused by the conflict (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n.d. ).
Conversion hysteria includes biological disturbances, “such as, glove anesthesia, in response to highly stressful events, and other problems—including sudden loss of speech, hearing, or sight; tremors; muscular paralysis; eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia—have also been interpreted as forms of conversion hysteria” (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n. d. , p. 5). In the 1930s, the thought that individuals’ internal conflicts produced certain illnesses came from Flanders Dunbar along with Franz Alexander in the 1940s (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n.d. ).
Psychosomatic medicine was researched by Dunbar and Alexander, and unlike Freud linked patterns of personality, rather than one certain conflict to certain illnesses. Freud did not believe that “physiological mechanism hypothesize to explain for the relationship between conflict and disorder” (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n. d. , p. 5).
He believed “that conversion reactions occur without any necessary physiological changes, Dunbar and Alexander argued that con?icts produce anxiety, which becomes unconscious and takes a physiological toll on the body via the autonomic nervous system” (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n. d. , p. 5). With continuing physiological changes the repercussions produces a disturbance.
“In the case of an ulcer patient, for example, repressed emotions resulting from frustrated dependency and love-seeking needs were said to increase the secretion of acid in the stomach, eventually eroding the stomach lining and producing ulcers” (“Introduction To Health Psychology,” n.d. , p. 5).
The development of behavioral medicine and its relationship to health psychology uses the knowledge from different fields of health care “to the development of behavioral and biomedical information to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and psychological disorders” (Fisher Ph. D. , 2008, Para. 1). Health psychology is related to behavioral medicine because all fields of psychology are the main branch in working with health and illness, including behavioral medicine (Fisher Ph.D. , 2008).
Health psychology is defined as the scientific, professional, educational, and psychological contributions to maintain and promote health, to prevent and treat illness, “and to identify etiological (origins) and diagnostic correlates of health and illness” (Fisher Ph. D. , 2008, Para. 1). Clinical Health Psychology is the operation of these principles in a clinical setting with patients and not research subjects (Fisher PhD. , 2008).
Behavioral medicine focuses on health and medical illness or non-medical illness, which is connected to Health psychology in one way or another. Most Health/Behavioral Medicine Psychologists are trained in the bio psychosocial approach to treatment and assessment, this role is linked with psychological, biological, and social aspects in the way individuals think, act, feel, and how it affects individuals’ health and illness (Fisher PhD. , 2008).
The advantage of the biomedical model is that it has proven success as a roadmap for diagnosis and treatment of a multitude of diseases over the past two centuries. Its weakness lies in its failure to fully include psychosocial factors, which have proven to be powerful co-factors of disease in modern society. Looking back on the past shows just how far scientists and psychologists have come. Today it would be inhumane to hang or torture someone who shows signs of schizophrenia for example.
There are medications, techniques, and methods today to help schizophrenia. Reference Fisher Ph. D, C. (2008, July). What Is Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine? BMED Report health and wellness through psychological science. Retrieved from http://www. bmedreport. com/archives/69 Introduction To Health Psychology. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://highered. mcgraw- hill. com/sites/dl/free/0073382728/587423/Taylor7e_Sample_Ch01. pdf Straub, R. O. (2012) Health Psychology: A biopsychosocial approach (3rd ed. ). New York, NY: Worth.