Often you hear people refer to issues in their life in terms of ‘first world problems’ which are nothing more than a range of trivial or minor frustrations that impact certain economically developed countries, such as computers crashing or not being able to access Wi-Fi (surely there is a case for a new foundation layer to be added to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), but how about 14th Century problems?
For most of us the ‘Bubonic plague’ was nothing more than a trip to Eyam and a (most likely incorrect) recounting of ‘a ring a ring a roses’….However today’s news of the story of the plague AKA as the Black death (if ever there was a name of a disease to ensure that perceived seriousness should always be high, it’s this one), especially when there were 800 confirmed cases by the WHO in 2013 of which a significant number were fatalities’. Consider how our knowledge about individual’s belief’s regarding our health could have impacted upon the epidemic (1/3 of all those in England died) – if we had Becker’s model to hand at the time would it have been different?, it is very difficult to say, however it is difficult to argue with the fact the more we understand about the dangers to our health the more informed choices we can make. However, such anxiety can in some go too far and become an illness in itself, Health Anxiety Disorder historically referred to as Hypochondrias can be explained using a range of psychological theory from the early work of Charcot and Freud to more Cognitive based theory such as the Health Belief Model. From Psychoanalysis to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy it is a long road for sufferers. A recent article highlighted in the Guardian just how debilitating it can be.