7 Ways on How Behavioural Modification Can Be Used in Medicine

Medicine has come a long way; thanks to modern technology and innovations. In the past, some diseases and illnesses could hardly be treated or diagnosed correctly. This is due to a lack of access to information and the right tools. Times were tough at that time, and many people were dying early, which resulted in a shorter overall global lifespan.

But now, things have changed -- a lot. Even ordinary people can immediately know an illness by researching its symptoms on the internet. We now have access to highly advanced tools that grant us the ability to find cures and treatments for various diseases. These same tools can also be used to gather information and learn more about unknown cases.

Despite the many advancements, there are still problems that modern medicine cannot solve at the moment. But that doesn’t mean they are left that way.

One of the most effective approaches to solving problems in medicine is by looking at them from a different perspective. It can go even further right now by using methods and techniques thought to be inapplicable or impractical. One of those treatment approaches is behavioural modification.

What Is Behavioural Modification?

Behavioural modification is a treatment approach that involves altering a person’s behavioural patterns to what is deemed socially acceptable. It usually replaces negative behaviour with desirable ones. There are different methods used to achieve this, but in its essence, it is all about reinforcements and punishments, both positive and negative.

In this context, punishment is associated with any activity that is aimed to put a stop to an undesirable behavioural pattern. Reinforcement, on the other hand, is all about encouraging a desirable one. With this in mind, we can differentiate the differences between positive punishment, negative punishment, positive reinforcement, and negative reinforcement.

Positive punishment involves adding a consequence to a bad habit, such as giving a child an extra chore for breaking something in the house. Negative punishment, meanwhile, is the act of removing something after a bad habit, such as taking a child’s phone after being disobedient. Positive reinforcement is about giving a reward after a good habit. On the other hand, negative reinforcement is about removing a punishment. All this makes up behavioural modification, and it can immensely help in the field of medicine.

According to research, behavioural medication can help:

Identify Healthy and Unhealthy Behavioural Patterns

When you want to modify a person’s habits, the first course of action is to pinpoint the undesirable tendencies to remove or replace. This information is extremely useful when it comes to medicine. Most bad habits often create unhealthy outcomes. That's why identifying unhealthy behavioural patterns helps professionals and experts create a vision and a plan to eliminate these.

For example, a patient has come to a doctor because he has been sick a lot lately. With the help of behavioural modification, the doctor can quickly point out which of the patient’s habits has caused him to be sick and can tackle these habits individually. Unhealthy practices such as smoking or not eating properly can be identified and dealt with to stop them.

Without behavioural modification, it can get pretty hard to find out what a person’s issues are. This is because it can be difficult to know where to start looking in the first place. After all, illnesses and diseases can come in many forms and can manifest in different ways, such as heredity. By acknowledging bad habits and knowing what a person’s issues are, improving their life can be easily done.

Promote Habits That Can Improve One’s Health

As previously stated, many methods are involved in the practice of altering one’s habits and manners. This includes positive reinforcement. It is the act of giving out a reward to a person for doing something desirable. This method is very useful when it comes to medicine. As you give out rewards or incentives for something that can improve one’s health, positive habit formation will be cultivated and encouraged.

Positive reinforcement comes in many forms, such as verbal praise, monetary rewards, and more. It is said that the method is most effective when the reward is given immediately after the good behaviour. In the field of medicine, this can be practised by giving out a pleasant surprise to those who have done something healthy or something that they were supposed to do to keep healthy. For example, a child might be given a treat for remembering to take their medicine on the right day and time.

Conversely, negative reinforcement is also another approach to improving one’s health. Doctors and professionals can remove treatment routines and medical pills if possible, when patients have accomplished something that makes the said routines and medicine impractical. The goal is to simply let the patients practice their healthy habits more frequently in the future.

Remove One’s Unhealthy Practices

With unhealthy habits and behavioural patterns identified, it becomes easier to single them out and execute punishments to remove them from one’s lifestyle. Much like positive and negative reinforcement promotes healthy habits, positive and negative punishment can discourage people from doing unhealthy ones. Even though punishments are not seen as something pleasant to do to people, the method is helpful in behavioural modification.

To recap, negative punishment is the act of giving someone a punishment like a restriction or a chore while negative punishment is the act of taking something away from the person’s possessions or privileges. By making the person uncomfortable and displeased with their disposition, the course of punishment aims to let them reflect on their actions and remind themselves in the future to not repeat those bad habits.

There are a lot of unhealthy practices that can be reduced or stopped through this effort such as smoking, not sleeping long enough, and more. To keep healthy, it is best to stay away from bad influences and habits that mess up our bodies. This is something that medical experts keep on reminding others of despite it being common knowledge.

Introduce Healthier Activities

Not everyone is accustomed to doing healthy exercises such as jogging or working out, and that is not entirely their fault. People tend to get busy and their schedules become too full for these physical activities.

However, everyone must understand that exercising is a good practice to do to keep healthy. In fact, according to the NHS UK, the act of exercising can reduce one’s risk of major illnesses like strokes, heart disease, cancer, and more by up to 50%. It can also lower the risk of early death by up to 30%.

Through the use of behavioural modification, professionals can alter a patient’s habits into being more interested in physical exercises. This can be introduced in their lifestyle and can make their bodies fit and healthier than before. This is helpful for people who are suffering from sicknesses caused by not meeting the standards of being physically fit. It is also helpful for children as being introduced to exercising at a young age will make them healthier in the long run.

It is said that children and young people, aged 5 to 18, need to perform aerobic exercises and other exercises that strengthen the muscles and bones. These activities range from cycling and walking to doing gymnastics and playing basketball, football, tennis, and more. If your child is not fond of these exercises, behavioural modification is possibly one of the best courses of action to take.

Encourage Proper Use of Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are strong medications used to fight various illnesses. They are usually prescribed by a doctor. However, the most rampant and common issue with prescription drugs is that many people misuse them leading to unpleasant consequences such as addiction.

The three commonly misused prescription drugs are opioids, depressants, and stimulants. These are used to relieve pain, anxiety, help people sleep, and treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

Doctors who prescribe these medicines know what they are doing and must prescribe their patients the right amount to use. They are careful in determining this by taking into account different factors, such as the patient’s weight, the duration of which the drugs had been prescribed before, other medical conditions, and more. However, when misused, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs.

As such, professionals can use behavioural modification to discourage the misuse of prescription drugs and encourage their proper use. Altering someone’s habits to reduce this practice makes it healthier for them in the long run. It is most effective before they get addicted to them, as addiction to these drugs can be very damaging and difficult to treat.

Address and Treat Drug Dependency and Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective Treatment, behavioural therapies performed in individual, group, and family settings are the most commonly utilized and effective forms of treatment for substance use disorders. After all, behavioural modification helps people change their self-destructive habits and substance abuse is one of them.

Substance abuse is defined as the overindulgence of something that is highly addictive such as alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, and the like. It is very dangerous and is not something that should be taken lightly. The good news is that many people recover from them through various methods, and altering a person’s behaviour to discourage this practice is one. Another way that this kind of therapy helps is that the people suffering from addiction can feel good about themselves for trying to get out of it.

Support groups are a very common approach to the issue of substance abuse. In its very essence, it helps the person feel accepted and feel proud of himself for his efforts in combating their addiction. It is a form of positive reinforcement as humans are social beings and being socially accepted is a form of reward in this scenario.

Foster a Healthy Environment

With the methods used in behavioural modification, a professional can use them to set and impose a healthy environment fit for an individual. This takes into account the medical issues that they suffer from. For example, removing pastries and processed foods in an environment of people recovering from obesity imposes a healthy setting for them as there will no longer be obstacles that block their paths.

This is a form of altering a person’s behaviour to make them think less about the hurdles in their healthy recovery. By not making the obstacles visible in the patients’ immediate surrounding, it can condition themselves into not going for them all the time. Behavioural therapy is all about changing a person’s habits and practices to accommodate a healthier lifestyle. One way to achieve that is to set the stage at which they are to recover.

Our habits are shaped by what is around us, from the people we interact with to the material things around us. By shaping the surrounding, we can shape a person’s habits. Another example would be to put a child from a polluted setting full of people who smoke to a much greener environment with healthy air and water. It can condition the child into thinking less about the people who smoke and more about being physically fit in his environment.

Get Treated at StratHealth Ltd Today

Here at StratHealth Ltd, we prioritise your well-being and strategise the best healthcare solutions that meet your needs. We believe that having the proper medical management is something that everyone should have access to. Whatever it is you are suffering from, we can assure you that we can find the right one for you that can treat you well.

For more information about our services, you can reach us out on 020 8128 4420 or by sending us an email via Get treated the right way starting today with StratHealth Ltd.


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