The four main components of the biopsychosocial approach to health

What exactly is a biopsychosocial approach to health? The biopsychosocial approach includes four primary components that need to be addressed when maintaining health. For more information on how to integrate this approach into your healthcare plan, click here.

Biological Component
Physiological components of health include factors such as your genetics or family history, your age, sex, race, if you are pre or post menopausal, and existing medical conditions. All these physiological components obviously have an impact on your health.

Behavioral Component
These include behaviors people engage in that contribute to health such as smoking, fatty diet, sedentary lifestyle, adherence to medications and going to see health care professionals regularly. Your everyday behaviors have a direct impact on your health and well-being. Many major chronic diseases stem from or are exacerbated by choices we make every single day.

Psychological Component
There are psychological variables that have an impact on your medical well-being. These can include certain forms of depression or anxiety disorders, stress, and hostility. One example of psychological factors impacting health includes heart disease. Hostility has become more common place in our culture. Some people even joke about it as they describe their anger while driving or other activities. However, studies show that being angry, or even recalling an incident in the past that made you angry can cause a cascade of events. It can increase inflammation, puts stress on the heart muscle, increases calcium buildup in arteries and stirs up stress hormones. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure, chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, higher cholesterol levels, damage arteries, contribute to blood clots can contribute to the progression of coronary artery disease. Managing your mental health can have a positive impact on your medical health.

Environmental Component
These factors also play a role in your overall health. Examples of these include social support, workplace, quality of marriage, and finances. For example we know social support is key to health. It can have a protective effect in that it is associated with good mental and medical health, helps with speedier recovery from illness, and helps individuals remain healthier in the face of stress. Another environmental factor is work stress. Sixty-nine percent of employees report that work is a significant source of stress and 41% say they typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday (American Psychological Association, 2009). Stress in turn can impact our mental and medical well-being.

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