The Biopsychosocial Model of Clinical Practice in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
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The biomedical model limits the role of the physician to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. It fails when applied to patients whose symptoms cannot be reduced to physiochemical terms or “cured” by technological means. Such patients, however, comprise the majority of those encountered in clinical practice. The biopsychosocial model explains the role of the physician to that of coping with an illness and searching for conditions that contribute to the patient's suffering. Disease is viewed as only one of several potential components of illness, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease is viewed as one part of the effort to overcome illness and enhance well-being. Healing, which encompasses more than curing disease, is the process of overcoming illness and enhancing wellbeing. The term clinical process theory is intended to encompass the principles and definitions by which clinicians make the distinctions between what is therapeutic, nontherapeutic, and counter-therapeutic in managing illness.The biopsychosocial model is particularly useful in functional gastronintestinal disorders because - unlike giardiasis, for example - functional disorders are seldom amenable to passively received “cures.”
In Hyman, P.E. (Ed) Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. New York. Academy Profession Information Services. Chapter 1. 1999.