Health Psychology

Health Psychology

There is no one factor which effects our health. Health psychology is a specialty area that focuses on how biology, psychology, behaviour, and social factors influence health and illness. The field of health psychology promotes the treatment and prevention of physical illness. It also deal with how people cope or recover from the illness. In other words health psychology deals how a person’s life style, stress, behaviour affects him physically and how the physical illness in turn effects the mental health.

Almost all the major illness are related to psychological and behavioural factors like heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension, respiratory disorders like asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, HIV/AIDS, cancer, strokes etc.

Health psychologists work with individuals, and communities to decrease the risk factors, improve overall health, and reduce illness by getting involved in wide range to activities like

  • Educating and spreading awareness about the illness : to provide all the information about a particular illness, how does it start, how can it be prevented, factors effecting it.
  • Teaching coping skills : once diagnosed with any illness, now a person can cope with it effectively.
  • Teaching preventive measures : keeping a check on the weight, avoiding particular behaviours people who are already susceptible to certain illness.
  • Reduce risky sexual behaviour : educate and promote healthy sexual relations.
  • Planning a change in life style : weight loss, quit smoking, keep a check on alcohol and type of food, sleep wake cycle etc.
  • Stress management : performing relaxation and mindful exercises.
  • Giving grief therapy in case of terminally ill patients : how to deal with the grief of someone in the family have passed away due to a serious illness.
  • Giving family therapies to enhance relationship : educating the entire family about the illness a family member is going through, describing their role, enhancing cooperation from family members.

It is found that people who take therapy parallel to the medications and treatment for their physical health have much better insults and recovery process than those who are only taking treatment for their physical illness.

Stress management and educating people about illness are one of the most important thing that a health psychologist is involved in. Most of the illness named above are the consequence of long term underlying stress. If we have all information about the illness, the factors that could trigger it, how to manage stress levels, anxiety or depression most of the severe health issues could be all together avoided.

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