Wednesday, April 6, 2016

An Introduction to the Biopsychosocial Model

As a family physician in Burnaby, British Columbia, Dr. Ali Ghahary offers comprehensive care to individuals of all ages. Dr. Ali Ghahary uses the biopsychosocial approach to treat clients as complete individuals with multiple contributors to illness and health.

The biopsychosocial model assumes that personal health stems from an integrated web of emotional, physical, and societal factors. Biologic factors include ineffective agents and genetic predispositions as well as hormone levels and a history of physical trauma. These factors contribute to physical as well as to mental illness, just as a person's psychological state may mitigate or worsen a physical condition. For example, emotional depression may predispose a person to alcohol use, which is a known risk factor for liver disease.

Social circumstances may also contribute to both mental and physical illness. A culture that values thin bodies over heavier ones may have a higher rate of anorexia nervosa than that of a society with less emphasis on weight. Further, economic uncertainty in those of a lower socioeconomic status may lead to high levels of stress, which may increase a person's predisposition to disease. Consideration of these factors allows a physician to assess the whole patient and to understand his or her illness on multiple levels, from the cellular to the global.

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