According to authors Robert Perrucci and Steven Wallach, the three models of mental illness are the medical, the behavioral and the societal reaction models. (271). The medical model of mental illness focuses on the structural or physical abnormalities in a patient’s brain which trigger the mental illness. It is concerned with the treatment of the illness and prevention thereof. Thus, this model requires that sufficient psychiatric care with appropriate medication by competent physicians and treatment teams be provided to the patients.
It involves paying attention to the biological issues of patients through medical procedures such as the careful monitoring of intended effects and side effects of the treatment, the identification of new problems pertaining to the physical, mental and emotional problems of the patients as they occur, the detection of both acute and residual symptoms as they emerge, the elimination from the entire treatment of toxic chemicals and unnecessary drugs, and the administration of a balanced nutritional diet, an adequate rest and sleep schedule and a regular aerobic exercise program for the patients. (cited in University of South Carolina School of Medicine Psychiatric Rehabilitation)
The behavioral model of mental illness, on the other hand, focuses on the series of maladaptive behaviors demonstrated by the patient as a result of his irrational pattern of thinking and perceiving. This model requires the therapeutic alliance of the patient with a person who gives him encouragement, respect and a reality orientation, and then motivates and leads him to be busy with productive activities that are comfortable and useful.
It further involves providing the patient ample support and assistance in dealing with how people would normally react to his illness, in developing a balance between over- and under-stimulation, in establishing a relaxed atmosphere and a regular daily routine, in gently encouraging the substitution of inappropriate behaviors with responsible adult behaviors, and in asserting the patient’s “competence” identity as opposed to an unwholesome and ill identity which only leads him to alienation and self-pity. (cited in University of South Carolina School of Medicine Psychiatric Rehabilitation)
Meanwhile, the societal reaction model of mental illness focuses on how the patients are treated by other people. It explores whether each particular patient is perceived by society as a disturbance, given the behavior that he exhibits as a consequence of his mental illness. Moreover, it examines the degree or extent of illness or abnormality that a patient is considered to have in the context of the varying norms of groups and societies.
After all, every individual is subject to a set of rules and norms that define what is acceptable and not, what is right and wrong, and what is good and bad. These rules vary as to situations, locations and cultures. This model of mental illness focuses on a patient’s inability to find for himself a sense of purpose, peace, harmony, and health in the family or community he belongs to, as would have been necessary for him to attain personal and social success.
Furthermore, this model requires that the patient be taught and guided to develop and maintain the skills and abilities necessary for becoming a healthy and normal member of the society. It also emphasizes the need for the patients to be assisted in learning survival skills including psychosocial and occupational rehabilitation, in developing communication and problem-solving skills and in establishing a social network that would be supportive of them. (cited in University of South Carolina School of Medicine Psychiatric Rehabilitation)