Health Psychology

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Health psychology is a branch of psychology that treats, studies and investigates different psychological processes and pathologies that can affect human beings.

Considering the definition of health psychology, this is interested in the behavior, attitude and processes that may be occurring in an individual in such a way that they affect their health. And, in relation to this, with some type of existing pathology that can develop or has developed such as anxiety, or depression, for example.

Within the different types of psychology that exist, health psychology focuses on assessing the disease, and what processes encompass it so that it occurs.

Health psychology is responsible for assessing all emotional factors, those related to behavior, and cognitive factors in such a way that a global vision can be obtained to treat diseases related to the dysfunction of any of them.

Its appearance dates back to 1978, when the American Psychological Association agreed to create the branch dedicated to health psychology.

The psychologist who carries out the tasks related to health psychology is in charge of evaluating, observing the patient, and communicating with him to treat the different diseases that may exist. For example, if a patient comes with discomfort and anxiety symptoms such as insomnia, shortness of breath, agitation or sadness, he will be in charge of evaluating him in order to start an effective treatment for the pathology he has. In this case, the problem must always be determined and the most appropriate solution applied to it. If you are afraid of driving, for example, you will have to apply a systematic desensitization that consists of approximations to that fear in a progressive way, in addition to a previous phase of stress reduction.

What are the goals of health psychology?

These are the main objectives:

  • Promote health: There are diseases that need to be treated from a psychological point of view because changes in habit and attitudes are required, for example: losing weight. The help of a psychologist will be an important contribution to achieve this, since not all diseases require medication, or the most traditional medicine.
  • Disease prevention: Health psychology plays a very important role in disease prevention. For example, smoking, obesity, anorexia, or depression. Preventing, exposing healthy habits and advice to avoid certain pathologies from being generated is something essential that health psychology is responsible for.
  • Research: Health psychology should also explore the field of research since, in addition to preventing and applying treatments for different diseases, research is another of its tasks to find out why these problems appear and the best way to treat them.
  • Study all the factors: Various psychological, behavioral, cultural, biological factors, among others, may influence the appearance of a disease. In this line, health psychology is responsible for studying all of them globally to establish the most appropriate treatment and to know the basis of the origin of the problem.

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