The on who’s definition you are reading

 The definition of health and illness changes depending on who’s definition you are reading or hearing for example the Oxford dictionary 2014 defines the term health as ”The state of being free from illness or injury” (Oxford dictionary 2014). Whereas the World Health Organisation challenges this by stating that health is ”A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of illness or injury” (The World Health Organisation 1948). The Health and Lifestyle survey by Mildred Blaxter 1990 examined how different people and organisations define the term health and by conduction this study it was concluded that individuals have many definition of health and this changed depending on who you asked these individual definitions were then classified as positive or negative.

  The biomedical model of illness and healing focuses directly on biological factors and does not take into account psychological, environmental or social influences. The biomedical model is the most prominently used way by modern health care workers to diagnose and treat a patient conditions. When first diagnosing a patient a health care worker will not ask for a psychological or social history of a patient instead they look for biological factors or a genetic disposition when diagnosing and treating a patient. The focus more on the scientific side and rely mainly on lab test rather than asking the patient what they feel is wrong with them or without really looking at the patient’s history. According to the biomedical model the definition of health is the freedom from pain, disease or defect which shows that it mainly focuses on physical processes that can affect health and does not look at mental illness as a factor that can affect health and does not look at the social situation of the patient as something that can cause the illness according to the biomedical model every illness has one underlying issue and once this is removed the patient will be of good health again (Annandale the sociology of health and medicine 1998).

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 The main principles of the biomedical model are that illness is cause by either a physical accident a genetic condition or a bacteria or virus, that illnesses can be identified and classified into different types such as disease of the cardiovascular system. Also, that illness can be treated and cured for example, with an infection you would take antibiotics to rid the body of the infection. The biomedical model would be great for diagnosing and treating certain conditions such as a broken arm as it would get sorted very fast but it would not be good for treating a patient with let’s say schizophrenia because mental illness is not something that is recognised as a condition according to the biomedical model (National academy press 1998). The social model of health looks at other factors that can affect and individual’s health and it takes into consideration that social factor can affect health such as drinking, drugs and substance abuse. The social construction of reality by Berger and Luckmann written in 1966 presents a theory that everyday reality is socially constructed by everyday human interactions which mean that by interacting with people we pick up certain traits from another person and then these traits become part of our everyday reality.

 They also theorise that all human activity can be habitualized which means any action that is repeated frequently becomes second nature and can be done without the person realising they are doing it or are doing it in a certain way (Berger and luckmann 1966). Thomas Szasz is a psychiatrist who in 1961 wrote the book the myth of mental illness in this book Szasz argues that psychological problems should not be classified as a disease or illness and his personal opinion is that the term mental illness is inappropriate and that there is no true illness of the mind (Zilbergeld, Bernie 1983). In 1961 a philosopher by the name of Karl popper wrote a letter to Szasz in which he called Szasz that his book was admirable and fascinating and that it is an important book and makes a real revolution (Buchanan-Barker, P; Barker, P February 2009).

The philosopher Michael Ruse who wrote homosexuality: A Philosophical Inquiry in 1988 called Thomas Szasz the most forceful proponent of the thesis that mental illness is a myth but whilst stating this he considered Szasz theory over rated and criticized Szasz theory on many grounds (Ruse Michael 1988).    


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