Health, Emotion and The Body
May 2009, Polity
Contemporary critiques of biomedicine and the process of medicalisation have long emphasised the limitations of traditional western scientific medicine in the separation of mind and body. The subsequent turn to more holistic models of health and illness is now beginning to permeate medical education and healthcare practice. For Bendelow, a key aspect of this paradigm shift is the development of more sophisticated concepts of stress, which address the intertwining of emotion and embodiment, and emphasise social and material factors alongside biopsychological components.
These theoretical and conceptual issues are explored first through an emphasis on contemporary health practices, and then through developments in illness and medicine. Examining the ways in which ‘healthism’, rather than ‘medicalisation’, pervades most areas of everyday life, attention is drawn to the bodily practices we pursue in the name of health. These include concerns with sexual health, health promotion, the use of complementary or alternative medicine, and the notion of emotional health. The book then considers the implications of being diagnosed as ill, and charts the limits of the divisions between ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ illness, examining a range of conditions, including chronic pain, eating disorders and other illnesses of the contemporary world.
Health, Emotion and the Body combines clarity of expression with careful scholarship and originality, making it appeal to students and scholars with a wide range of interests, including the sociology of health and illness, the body, and mental illness, as well as health psychology.
Chapter 1 Beyond Biomedicalization: Integrated Models of Health & Illness.
Chapter 2 'Stress': the Key to Mind/Body?.
Chapter 3 Medically Unexplained Symptoms and ‘Contested Conditions’.
Chapter 4 Medical Responses to Emotional Distress.
Chapter 5 Complementary Medicine and Alternative Healing Systems.
Chapter 6 Holism or Healthism?.
- There is no other book like this on the market for students
that thoughtfully guides the reader through all social, personal
and emotional aspects of health and illness.
- The topic is a cutting-edge and popular theme of current
- Public debate and awareness around issues of general welfare
and emotional well-being in health care is always growing.
- In this field, Gillian Bendelow is the recognized expert.
"This comprehensive book critically examines contemporary models
of health and illness ... The book reminds us of the need to
consider the individual experience of illness while seeing each
person in his or her social context ... Of particular note is the
straightforward reminder that illness is a social and emotional
experience. The author reminds us that is the patient who should be
diagnosed, not merely the disease. 5/5"
"A cogent and intelligent account of the implications of
mind/body interactions for health."
Sociology of Health and Illness
"The quality of writing is high. Apart from the many case
histories used to illustrate the points being made, Professor
Bendelow gives many insightful observations on modern life and the
way in which medical practitioners are responding."
RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal
insightful, timely, and engaging book, Gillian Bendelow takes a
fresh look at the relationship between physical and mental illness,
and their treatment. Positing stress as the key
to mind-body medicine, Bendelow’s analysis sheds much-needed
light on key issues from medically unexplained symptoms to the
surveillance implications of mind-body approaches. A must-read for
anyone interested in the social dimensions of medicine, Health, Emotion and the
Body charts the course to critical new areas of
Laura Carpenter, Vanderbilt University
the relationship between bodies, lives and medicine preoccupy all
of us from time to time. In this accessible and very important
book, Gillian Bendelow takes us through the critical issues
underlying what medicine has to offer contemporary health problems.
She identifies a paradigm shift, in which dualistic mind-body
models and the dehumanizing and bureaucratic health care systems in
which these are often embedded, are now widely understood as
failing to provide any real understanding of how we live in and
experience our bodies. Her arguments should be read by all those
with an interest in humane health care (which is most of us,
whether practitioners, users or students). The book is an elegant
compendium of many different strands of thought, its conclusions a
compelling directive for a more integrated approach."
Ann Oakley, University of London
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