About Behavioral Medicine

Behavioral medicine is an interdisciplinary field combining both medicine and psychology and is concerned with the integration of knowledge in the biological, behavioral, psychological, and social sciences relevant to health and illness. These sciences include epidemiology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, physiology, pharmacology, nutrition, neuroanatomy, endocrinology, and immunology. The term is often used interchangeably, and incorrectly, with health psychology. The practice of behavioral medicine encompasses health psychology, but also includes applied psychophysiological therapies such as biofeedback, hypnosis, and bio-behavioral therapy of physical disorders, aspects of occupational therapy, rehabilitation medicine, and physiatry, as well as preventive medicine. In contrast, health psychology represents a stronger emphasis specifically on psychology’s role in both behavioral medicine and behavioral health. Behavioral medicine uses the biopsychosocial model of illness instead of the medical model. This model incorporates biological, psychological, and social elements into its approach to disease instead of relying only on a biological deviation from the standard or normal functioning.

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