Conclusion

Over the years, whereas the collaboration between psychiatry and psychology has decreased, the interaction and reliance between psychologists and other medical specialists has increased. Specifically, psychologists often serve core roles in the treatment of patients under the care of cardiology, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology, rehabilitation and physical medicine, oncology, surgery, pain clinics, and others. Each period in history made significant contributions to the development of behavioral medicine. Today, "75% of all patient visits in primary care practices can be attributed to psychological problems that present through physical complaints" (Roberts, 1994; cited in Wickramasekera, Davies, & Davies, 1996). Furthermore, behavioral factors seem to be the bases of at least half of deaths seen or medical problems treated by physicians (McGinnis & Foege, 1993). These statistics do not differ greatly from 1977, when a study of U.S. family physicians showed that onehalf to two-thirds of their patients sought relief from depression, "neuroses," or psychologically related physical disorders (Shorter, 1991, p. 249). Similarly, in 1917 the second most common complaint presented to physicians was of "nervous" problems (after coughs and colds; Shorter, 1991, p. 149).

Physical manifestations of psychological disorders have been evident throughout the history of medicine. Continuous efforts have improved on and advanced the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychological problems or difficulties as they relate to medical illness. Yet, it is only within the last 30 years that the formal collaboration of professionals from the biomedical, behavioral, social sciences, and the medical specialties has culminated in the establishment of the field of behavioral medicine.

See also: Clinical health psychology

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