Behavioral Medicine focusses on the interaction between behavior and disease
    (some would say "wellness"). Its concerns range over getting patients to
    follow medical regimens, the content of such regimens, and related matter.
    It also addresses self-changers. Its research focusses on how and why people
    change in their medically significant behaviors, and how such change may be
    facilitated. Such medically significant behaviors range over the taking of
    one's medicine by chronic disease patients, showing up for medical
    appointments, getting regular check-ups, stress reduction, diet, exercise,
    smoking, and related matters. In general such behaviors, while often
    maladaptive and/or unwanted, do not rise to the level of diagnosable mental
    and nervous conditions. Some of the focus is on prevention, some on chronic
    disease management, and some on related non-medical issues for which the
    techniques of Behavioral Medicine are effective. Recent studies have shown
    that a substantial portion of the nation's medical costs are caused by
    Behavioral Medicine-related issues.
    Behavioral Medicine is a relatively recent, and rapidly growing area of
    medicine, which now holds annual conferences, has its own professional
    society, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and has a wide body of new
    research and practice, funded significantly by the National Institutes of
    Health, the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute for Drug
    Abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the British
    National Health Service.  It is beginning to find its way into the public
    consciousness through such recent books as "Changing for Good" by Prochaska,
    Norcross, and DiClementi (Morrow, 1994). It is a component of "mainstream"
    medicine rather than "alternative" medicine. It is _not_ the "Behaviorism"
    of the history of psychology, with which it has little connection.
    Public policy aspects of Behavioral Medicine are related to the enormous
    costs of the health care system, particularly in areas where published
    research has shown that traditional approaches to preventive medicine and to
    chronic disease treatment used alone have proven unsatisfactory in large
    numbers of cases. Prior to the research and application of Behavioral
    Medicine, such failures have been dismissed as patient non-compliance as if
    that explained something and it was the patient's "fault". Published
    research to date has shown that physicians are acutely aware of the
    incomplete training and weakness of technique in traditional medical
    practice related to this issue.
    The research field is interdisciplinary and involves much overlap with
    psychology, with management, with goal-setting and performance, and with
    specialized aspects of computers and communications. Among recent
    breakthroughs in the field are those by Prof. Robert A. Bjork, recent
    Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council
    studies on enhancing human performance. Extensive NIH-supported research by
    Prochaska et al on addictions including tobacco and alcohol have served to
    validate their Transtheoretical Model of behavioral change.
    psychologists, there is no appropriate newsgroup in sci.psychology.  Though
    some of the work involves economics and public policy, that content is
    treated sproradically, in passing, and in isolation in general discussion
    groups and economics groups. That this should be so is not surprising, since
    Behavioral Medicine itself has become a separate focus of practice only in
    the past ten-odd years.
    Teaching targets include physicians, dentists, and nurses, and students in
    those fields, and practice is significantly, though not exclusively related
    to organic medical conditions and compliance with medical regimens.
    Potential self-changers may also be interested participants.
    The Behavioral Medicine newsgroup welcomes the following participants:
     -  Physicians and medical students
     -  Dentists and dental students
     -  Psychologists and psychology students
     -  Specialists from related fields such as Preventive Medicine
     -  Associated professionals (therapists, teachers, nurses, social
        workers, etc.)
     -  Behavioral Medicine researchers and practitioners
     -  Management, goal-setting, and human performance researchers and students
        interested in Behavioral Medicine or working in collateral areas
     -  Computer and communications specialists working on Behavioral Medicine
     -  Health economists
     -  Health public policy analysts
     -  Current or potential patients
     -  Relatives or friends of patients
    Topics for discussion include:
     -  Research
     -  Applications/Techniques
     -  Integration with current medical practice
     -  Self-change
     -  Case studies
     -  Wider application of research in the field
     -  Commercial applications
     -  Educational programs
     -  Seminars/Conferences
     -  Any related problems, questions or comments.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Oct 2013
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