Chapter-32 Biopsychosocial Model of Illness and Oral Medicine

BOOK TITLE: Fundamentals of Oral Medicine and Radiology

1. DN Bailoor
2. Nagesh Pai
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
1. Yenepoya Dental College and Hospital, Mangalore
2. KS Hegde Medical Academy (KSHEMA), Mangalore
Chapter keywords


Biopsychosocial model of illness was first proposed by Engel in 1977 and later modified by many workers. This model suggests that any illness is caused due to the interaction of three factors: the biological, the psycholo­gical and the social. The biological agent is the virus and psychological stress and loneliness causes the person to indulge in drug habit or promiscuous sex, and the social stigma of AIDS may drive the patient to suicide. The importance of psychological and social factors in the causation of disease is very apparent in disorders like HIV infection and the stress related problems like tension headache etc. The impact of stress on immune system can lead to various changes and the whole gamut of diseases, which respond with difficulty to regular treatment. Many of the disorders mentioned in this chapter are closely related to depression. Either psychiatrist or the oral medicine specialist normally administers antidepressant therapy. One major side effect of the antidepressant therapy is that it accentuates the Xerostomia in the depressed patient. Knowledge of the basic psychology is fundamental for effective and efficient practice in that it helps the doctor in management of both. The fear that most patients have, as well as this varied group of oral disorders result from the interaction of soma and the psyche. A knowledgeable dentist a should be able to recognize and refer the selected cases to psychiatrist and use the services of the medical social workers in long term follow up and total health care of his patient.

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