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The problem of a growing number of people suffering from different types of diabetes is becoming one of the burning issues in the modern world. That is why it is important to approach this problem from its both ends and pay attention to preventive measures, as well as finding more efficient means of treatment.
One of the advances in the modern medicine is the implementation of holistic medicine that aims to investigate the broader context of treating the medical conditions, rather than focus purely on the biological component.
Thus, this paper’s objective is to analyze the interdisciplinary nature of the application of holistic medical treatment, to study traditional and modern methods of implementation of the mind-body medicine to diabetes, and investigate the techniques based on the humanistic image, of how to be effective at self-management with diagnosed diabetes.
The interdisciplinary nature of the modern holistic medicine
Among modern medical scientists, the research of diabetes is one of the topics to be most focused on, it includes thousands of researchers in different fields of medicine from all over the world, who in recent years managed to make many advancements of how to ease, at least to a certain merit, life of people diagnosed with diabetes (Peyrot et al. 174).
Another significant advancement made in the last couple of decades concerning people who have medical conditions is the implementation of the holistic medicine techniques. Those approaches aim to find and apply the different ways of treatment involving not only biological side of the human organism but also being attentive to the psychological, spiritual, mental, social and emotional health of the patients (Teixeira 278).
It stands in the direct correlation with the general humanistic image of a human being in medicine, and it is especially important for people who are to manage their conditions, such as diabetes, since it focuses on the psychological and social aspects of overcoming difficulties caused by a disease.
Given the complexity of the factors that affect the psychological state of an individual, the implementation of the humanistic image for managing diabetes is only possible within the interdisciplinary approach that would involve other than just biological aspects, including social and economic nuances (Asche, LaFleur and Conner 75).
The objective of the formatting humanistic image for those who are diagnosed with diabetes is to employ various scientific branches, concerned with studying a human body, mind, practices, spiritual and socio-economic life, to ensure the effective functioning of those individuals on all the levels, rather than just treating the symptoms.
The psychological and social comfort not only provides the ground for the more self-awareness but also ensures that those individuals are not left out of the workplaces, social life so that they have their guaranteed rights and commitments. In this, way it is a system beneficial for all the society since it involves the inclusion of all its members.
Approaches used by the mind-body medicine to treating diabetes
There are a few main approaches within the biological anthropology attempting to explain the nature of humans as biological organisms, particularly the interaction between the spiritual and biological aspects, the interconnection between mind and body. Those approaches can roughly be divided into two groups, one of which is inclining towards reductionism and simplification while the other is viewing the complexities of mind-body relations as the unique human feature (McKinnon and Silverman 181).
Even though, the reductive oversimplification is not now widely spread in the approaches to anthropological studies; however, it is important not to reduce the medical conditions to purely biological level. Such conditions as diabetes of any type require certain lifestyle and diet, as well as, of course, medication, and to which degree people diagnosed with it can be engaged in these aspects successfully depends on economic, social, psychological and other factors of their living.
Contemporary diabetes treatment is related primarily with the dietary and lifestyle self-management. In this context, it is clear that the complex humanistic approach is directed to the wider range of issue concerned with diabetes. Since, at this stage, diabetes cannot be cured, it appears to create not only physical but also social and psychological discomfort for people diagnosed with it.
The lifestyle awareness will allow them to feel more humane and more included in the social life. With the implementation of self-management, it is possible to change the not only the attitude of those have diabetes but also the general public’s attitude towards it.
Humanistic approaches to diabetes management
The framework of the diabetes management includes such major components as medication intended to control and to lower the glucose levels in blood, levels of lipids and blood pressure, dietary restriction on the products containing sugars, appropriate exercising activities and following the basics of the healthy lifestyle (Nathan et al. 2644).
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Depending on the type of diabetes, age, and other biological factors, the patients are usually prescribed the medicine to lower the blood sugar levels. Other medications are used to lower the liver’s glucose production.
Also, in many cases, especially with the type II diabetes and especially for the elder categories of patients, there is a range of cardiovascular diseases associated with diabetes, which is why a lot of the patients’ strength are going into overcoming those potential threats. In terms of humanistic image, it emphasizes the vulnerability of the diabetics not only to the health threats but also to the discomfort associated with the restrictions in the new lifestyle.
Quite often the diseases and pains that go alongside diabetes and the vulnerabilities stand in the way of normal life of the patients more that the condition itself. Based on the humanistic image approach to self-management in this case, seeks to introduce not only the physical side of the new lifestyle but also the spiritual and psychological relief that the holistic medicine can provide.
The sudden introduction of string ban on foods and the obligation to exercise for those who is not used to the healthy living is just another social stress that goes along with the disease, whereas, mindfulness meditation is spiritual practice that also shows results in decreasing the painful diabetic neuropathy (Teixeira 280).
Apart from meditation, it employs many other practices, including different types of yoga, visualization, some practices date back to ancient civilizations, some are borrowed from psychoanalysis but, most importantly they are all based on biological feedback that unifies mind and body, which is the principle of whole-person care (Chriswell and Serlin 662).
Diabetes is now a problem that arises concerns all over the world, and since, at this stage, diabetes cannot be cured, it appears to create not only physical but also social and psychological discomfort for people diagnosed with it. Holistic medicine due to its positive effect on the spiritual and psychological attitude of the patients with diabetes improves their success in managing their new lifestyle and makes the change to it less stressful, as well as medically proven helps in many cases to relieve the pains that go alongside the disease.
Holistic medicine contributes to the humanistic image since it does not reduce the patients with diabetes to purely biological aspects, and employs the advancements from all the branches of science associated with humanistic studies to help the people diagnosed with diabetes live a fuller life in harmony between spirit and body.
Asche, Carl, Joanne LaFleur, and Christopher Conner. “A review of diabetes treatment adherence and the association with clinical and economic outcomes.” Clinical Therapeutics 33.1 (2011): 74-109.
Chriswell, Eleanor, and Ilene A. Serlin. “Humanistic Psychology, Mind—Body Medicine, and Whole-Person Health Care.” The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology. Ed. Kirk J. Shneider, J. Fraser Pierson, and James F.T. Bugental. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2015. 653-66. Print.
McKinnon, Susan, and Sydel Silverman. Complexities. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Print.
Nathan DM, Cleary PA, Backlund JY, Genuth SM, Lachin JM, Orchard TJ, Raskin P, Zinman B. “Intensive diabetes treatment and cardiovascular disease in patients with type 1 diabetes.” The New England Journal of Medicine 353.25 (2005): 2643–53.
Peyrot, Mark, et al. “Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs 2 (DAWN2): a multinational, multi-stakeholder study of psychosocial issues in diabetes and person-centred diabetes care.” Diabetes research and clinical practice 99.2 (2013): 174-184.
Teixeira, Elizabeth. “The effect of mindfulness meditation on painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy in adults older than 50 years.” Holistic nursing practice 24.5 (2010): 277-283.