Unit 9 Final Project Case Study
PS370: Health Psychology
Professor Elizabeth Smith Clark
October 2, 2012
Health psychology consists of the mind and body working together to contribute to the wellbeing of a person. In choosing case study number one I: John, I will be discussing the effects of stress and alcoholism to a person’s wellbeing as well as different support and therapeutic techniques that can help with stress and treat alcoholism.
Case Study: John
John is suffering from alcoholic hepatitis due to excessive drinking. He is having severe stomach problems and has been exhibiting moodiness, sleep deprivation, weight loss and lack of energy. ...view middle of the document...
” (pg 103) The types complain about headaches and stomach pains. The pathway followed by this model is a-b-d-h (life events, behavior patterns personality and coping, unhealthy behaviors, and illness.) Like John, these type of people turn to unhealthy habits and exhibit illness behaviors in extremely stressful situations. (Friedman, 2002) John does not know how to cope with stress and is abusing alcohol as a way to ease the pain he is feeling when in reality it is the alcohol and lack of nutrients that is making him sick. Negative moods such as depression increase the likelihood of defining certain symptoms as illness because individual’s in a depressed state or someone who is psychologically vulnerable is more likely to respond to stress by exhibiting illness behaviors. (Friedman, 2002) Some people have poor a poor psychological response to challenge making them more prone to illness behaviors that have no organic condition.
The second role is the stress and unhealthy behavior model (a-b-e-g-h). In this model the individual’s stressors leads them to cigarette smoking, alcoholism, poor diet, lack of rest and exercise leading to disease or trauma. An example Friedman (2002) uses is that unhealthy behaviors place people at high risk for medical problems “a common example involves stress, drinking and cirrhosis of the liver.” (pg. 105) In John’s case because of the consistent alcohol abuse, not eating properly, and not getting the right amount of sleep he has developed alcoholic hepatitis. The doctor is concerned as to rather or not John has been eating because he has lost a significant amount of weight judging by his symptoms it sounds as if he malnourished.
The third and final role is physiological stress and illness model (a-c-f-g-h). In this model there is a link between stress reactions to organic conditions through physiological responses. This consists of loss, life change and illness.
The Mind-Body Connection
The psychophysiological concept in health psychology, describes how the body’s reaction to stress affects the state of our health and well-being (Friedman, 2002). Stress may be defined as the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change. An early theory, created by Hans Selye in 1956, is the general adaptation syndrome. Selye suggests that prolonged adaptation processes in this response are possibly responsible for resulting in many different diseases within the human body. There are three stages involved in the general adaptation syndrome the alarm reaction, a stage of resistance and a stage of exhaustion. The psychological concept in health psychology relates directly to the immune system, and its protection of the processes and functions within the human body (Friedman, 2002). This concept implies that the mechanics of the body work together as one, and any interruption of the systemic process of these mechanics will be the cause of illness and/or disease. In the psychological and psychophysiological aspects...