Clinical holistic medicine: social problems disguised as illness.

Søren Ventegodt, Mohammed Morad, Isack Kandel, Joav Merrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Many of the diseases seen in the clinic are actually symptoms of social problems. It is often easier for the physician to treat the symptoms than to be a coach and help the patient to assume responsibility in order to improve quality of life, social situation, and relations. If the physician ignores the signs of the disease as a symptom of social problems, and treats the patient with pharmaceuticals, he can give the patient the best justification in the world not to do anything about the situation. It is very important that the physician is not tricked by the games the socially troubled patient, more or less unconsciously, is playing. A firm and wise attitude that confronts the patient with his or her lack of responsibility for solving social problems seems to be a constructive way out. The physician can give holding and support, but the responsibility must remain with the patient. Often it is better for the patient that the physician abstains from giving drugs that can remedy the symptoms and takes the role of a coach instead. Suffering is not necessarily bad, suffering is actually highly motivating and often the most efficient source of learning. Coaching can help the patient canalize his motivation into highly constructive considerations and behavior. A holistic approach thus gives the patient learning and helps him rehabilitate his social reality. Concerning children with recurrent or chronic pain, we have observed an overuse of painkillers, where we believe part is of a psychosomatic nature due to poor thriving in the family. Here the physician has an important job helping the parents to develop as persons, teaching them the basic holding of awareness, respect, care, acknowledgment and acceptance of their child. Most of the chronic pain and discomfort with children can be improved if the physician understands how to use the holistic medical toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages9
JournalThe Scientific World Journal
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)


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