Medical Psychology: Why Medicine Can’t Function Without It
Have you ever heard of medical psychology? Or compassionate care? These areas of medicine are crucial for building healthy doctor-patient relationships.
The idea of psychology in medicine can be applied to many areas of medical practice. From the way you set up your medical office to the way you interact with patients, medical psychology plays a huge role.
Whether you’re a health care provider or a patient, you need to understand the basics of this essential field.
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about medical psychology and why it is so important.
What Is Medical Psychology?
Medical psychology is a field of study centered around the idea that psychological principles should be applied to physical health treatment. Simply put: how a patient feels emotionally affects their physical wellbeing.
When patients are under psychological stress, they can sometimes experience symptoms that are not linked to their physical health problems. These experiences are called psychosomatic symptoms.
Medical psychology seeks to minimize these psychosomatic symptoms so that doctors can focus on the medical problems that a patient is struggling with.
What Are Psychosomatic Symptoms?
Psychosomatic symptoms can appear both in the doctor’s office and at home. They are often unexplainable and appear when a patient is feeling especially stressed.
Common psychosomatic symptoms include headaches, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, joint pain, and dizziness.
Psychosomatic symptoms, if not recognized as such, can make it very difficult to diagnose a patient. They can throw doctors off the trail and complicate what might have been a very simple diagnosis.
How Is Medical Psychology Applied?
There are many ways to implement medical psychology in a doctor’s office or dentist’s office. Both office design and beside manner should have a role in this.
For instance, many people get nervous at the dentist or orthodontist. This can cause them to clench their jaw, making it seem like they have ongoing jaw issues that they do not normally have.
To combat this, you need a dental and orthodontic office design that puts patients at ease. As a doctor, you should also make sure that your bedside manner is open, calm, and caring.
How Do Patients Experience Medical Psychology?
Patients may not be aware when medical psychology is at play. However, they will certainly know when an environment makes them uncomfortable.
If your patients feel uncomfortable either in your presence or in your office in general, they are likely to lose trust in you.
In that case, they are also likely to experience psychosomatic symptoms of stress. They may not understand why they have those symptoms, and it is up to you, as a medical professional, to figure that out.
Help Your Patients Feel Safe and Cared For
Now that you know why medical psychology is so important, you can start to implement medical psychology in your office.
The doctor-patient relationship should be defined by honesty, trust, and care. Never settle for a cold and clinical environment in your medical practice.
For more tips for health care professionals, check out the rest of our blog!
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