6.2 Concepts of Illness

Sontag (1979) wrote about the metaphors we use to describe illness. Metaphors are ways of speaking about something as if it were something else which is imaginatively but not literally applicable, for instance calling a new moon a sickle. Sontag was mainly concerned with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and AIDS, and how the metaphors we use can serve to stigmatise the sufferers, for instance referring to AIDS as a gay plague. But people use metaphors to explain illness to themselves
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1.1 Introduction

Like many subjects, mental health is complex. This is partly because the language used in discussions about mental health is diverse, can mean different things to different people, and can sometimes be misleading. For example, the term ‘mental health’ is usually used in discussions about just the opposite: ‘mental illness’! There are, however, good reasons for the confusion surrounding its language. One reason is that decisions about what constitutes ‘mental health’, ‘men
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References

Alcohol Concern (2002) Report on the Mapping of Alcohol Services in England, London, Alcohol Concern.
Arnon, R., Degli Esposti, S. and Zern, M. A. (1995) ‘Molecular biological aspects of alcohol-induced liver disease,’ Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, vol. 19, pp. 247–256.
Buonopane, A. and Petrakis, I. (2005) ‘Pharmacology of alcohol use
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1.2.2 Psychological and sleep disturbances

The severity of hangover symptoms has also been associated with particular personality traits. For example, some research has indicated that individuals with personality traits that predispose them to a risk of alcoholism, experience more severe hangover symptoms than other people.

Although alcohol acts as a sedative, the sleep it induces can be of poorer quality and shorter duration than normal. Ethanol interferes with the action of key neurotransmitters, in particular GABA and glutama
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5.4 Involving children

The other key person to be consulted is the child herself. Although Jade's ability or willingness to communicate may vary in different contexts, her understanding will remain and for most children this understanding is well in advance of what they are able to communicate verbally. This has important implications and Jade should therefore be included in conversations, even if she does not appear to be participating.

A greater understanding of ways in which to communicate effectively, eve
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3.10 References for Extract 2

Bean, P. and Melville, J. (1989) Lost Children of the Empire, London, Unwin Hyman.

Erikson, E. H. (1950) Childhood and Society, New York, Norton Books.

Goffman, E. (1963) Stigma, Harmondsworth, Penguin.

Goffman, E. (1968) Asylums, Harmondsworth, Pelican.

Hall, S. (1990) ‘Cultural identity and diaspora’ in Rutherford, J. (ed.) Identity, Community, Culture and Difference, Lawrence and Wishart, pp. 222–237.

Humphries, S. and
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3.8 Psychosocial theories of identity

This section does not discuss theories of identity in detail. It is important to note, however, that the theory associated with Erik Erikson, a German psychoanalyst who worked in the USA from the 1930s, has been very influential in social work and continues to be so. Erikson (1950) proposed eight stages of life, from infancy to old age, and each stage had its own particular task in the development of an individual's identity.

Erikson's theory is one of several and should not be regarded
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3.7.1 Spoiled identities: stigma

In his classic book Stigma (1963) the sociologist Erving Goffman argues that stigma is a relationship of devaluation in which an individual is disqualified from full social acceptance. Society establishes ways of categorising persons and what are felt to be the ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ attributes for each category. Stigma, then, is essentially a pejorative label that sticks, one that is applied to an individual's ‘differentness’, their perceived non-conformity, deviance
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3.5 Identity and identities

So far in this extract we have considered the importance of people's individual biographies to an understanding of who they are. Such biographies play an important part in making us who we are and we will now explore some of the ideas that have contributed to social workers' understanding of the concept and importance of ‘identity’. These ideas are all examples of the kind of ‘knowledge’ or ‘theory’ that informs social workers' practice.


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3.2 Biography as history

So far in this extract you have looked at your life and some of the main influences on you. This process of self reflection, if developed, could provide the basis of your life story. If you decided to ‘tell your story’, how would you structure it? Most probably, as a chronological account of your life, from childhood to adulthood. The chances are that you would do this against the backdrop of the social and political events of the time, and you would illustrate it with historical details.
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2.4.1 Social work values

You will have come across the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers when you looked at the Framework documents for your country. These Codes are the main documents relating to values in the framework documents. Before looking in detail at the different aspects of the code, it is helpful to look at what ‘values’ are, where they come from, and the context in which social work values have arisen and are being put into practice.


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2.3.2 Social sciences

Many of the approaches to social work have their roots in the social sciences; and sociology, psychology and social policy have long historical connections with social work education. Sociology and psychology could be very simply described as being the study of societies and the study of the human mind and behaviour, respectively. Social policy is a newer discipline and involves studying the way in which systems of taxation, benefits and service provision are organised and the ideas that lie
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • develop awareness of the underpinning knowledge relating to the key roles of social work;

  • illustrate the application of knowledge, skills, values and processes through case study examples;

  • demonstrate awareness of the skills required to build relationships with service users, colleagues and others through effective communication;

  • introduce the social work service standards and codes of p
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References

American College of Sports Medicine (2006) ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th edn), London, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Pollock, M.L., Gaesser, G.A., Butcher, J.D., Després, J.P., Dishman, R.K., Franklin, B.A. and Ewing Garber, C. (1998) ‘ACSM position stand: The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness,
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1.4 Type

The ACSM recommends exercise that employs large muscle groups, is rhythmic or dynamic, can be maintained continuously and is aerobic in nature (ACSM, 2006; Pollock et al., 1998). This type of exercise results in larger increases in VO2max. Activities that would fit into this category include walking, running, swimming and cycling.


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1.1.1 Frequency

Frequency refers to how often or how frequently someone should exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends an exercise frequency of three to five days per week to improve or maintain VO2max (ACSM, 2006). They suggest that people training for sport may need to exercise more frequently.


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References

BWRA (2008) ‘Profile: Shelly Woods’ accessed 27 February 2008.

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3.5 Benzodiazepine tranquillisers, Prozac and the SSRIs

One of the most significant ranges of drugs ever produced is the benzodiazepine tranquillisers (usually classed as ‘minor tranquillisers’ or ‘hypnotics’), often prescribed as a remedy for ‘minor’ disorders such as depression, sleeplessness and anxiety. In effect, they extended the range of conditions that could be treated by medication. The best-known example is probably Valium.

3.6 Ethical practice and accountability: the role and function of professional bodies

The UK's medical profession is regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC). One of the main ways in which the GMC, and other regulatory bodies, influences its members is through its code of ethics. This sets out broad principles, rather than detailed guidance, for how practitioners should behave in specific circumstances. This is necessary because a practitioner retains individual accountability and ultimate responsibility for decisions taken during professional practice. Not all br
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