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Minerva Psichiatrica 2002 December;43(4):243-54

Copyright © 2002 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Body images in medicine and popular belief

Lorenzi P., Gosio N.


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The authors examine the importance that ideas about the body (and naturally about illness and health) can have in the subjective construction of help seeking behaviors by patients. Literature data are stressed, integrated and compared with personal clinical experience. Special aphorisms are proposed to organize body experience by collective thinking. Among these we would mention: the idea of a polluted body, of blood as life propellant, of appearance as mirror of heave of the body as possible container of evil and object of witchcraft, of the opinion that a same mind must inhabit only a healthy body. Special emphasis is placed on the need to enrich and diversity the subjective idea of one's own ill body, a point of view often understimated in the light of the medical tendency towards a not always useful, reductionism. In conclusion the problem on an updating of the somatic ideal in the free of new technical and scientific findings is discussed.

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