Disease and Illness from a Biocultural Standpoint

  • Horacio FabregaJr.
Part of the Current Topics in Mental Health book series (CTMH)

Abstract

A physican or public health official in a nation state is strongly motivated to interpret an individual’s reports of illness and disease in terms of specific physiologic systems that may be affected and also in terms of etiology, since these parameters usually dictate the mode of treatment or prevention. In orienting to medical information in this way, he or she runs the risk of losing sight of “atypical” manifestations of illness, and indeed of what the illness means to the individual. The health worker’s biomedical model of disease, taken ultimately from textbooks and clinical learning experiences heavily influenced by related frameworks, can be expected to exercise a powerful influence on what he or she looks for and finds during the analysis of a problem. In this sense, medical education or public health training can be seen as the progressive forging of a picture of how a “typical person” functions physiologically and chemically and also how that person is likely to be affected by disease processes that themselves are also “organically” constituted. At the very least, this approach to medical problems progressively deemphasizes the logic and rationale of illness given the patient’s perspective.

Keywords

Mold Coherence Diarrhea Posit Sorting 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New york 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Horacio FabregaJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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