CLINICAL CARE AND OVERMEDICALIZATION IN PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
Abstract This essay analyzes the overmedicalization (unnecessary and unwanted medicalization) generated in the medical care to the ill in primary health care, and discusses how it happens and how to avoid it. The analysis combines three sets of conceptions/knowledge: conceptions of illness (dynamic/ontological); conceptions of causation (ascending/multidirectional); key conceptual and structuring ideas about medical knowledge (anatomopathological, physiopatological, semiological, epidemiological). Overmedicalization is due to the cognitive movements of the professionals in the development of diagnoses and therapies. It originates from the ontological conception of illness with ascending causation (causal flow that goes from the simplest material elements to more complex levels and dimensions), in combination with the overestimation of the anatomopathological key idea, which generates excessive diagnostic and pharmacotherapeutic interventions. In order to avoid overmedicalization, we propose the virtuous association of the dynamic conception of illness, with multidirectional causation and balanced used of the key conceptual ideas of the illnesses. This facilitates: a qualified listening; the contextualization of the cases; a more rigorous use of complementary exams; the recognition of the limits of the biomedical diagnoses; the overcoming of the metonymical reasoning (which disregards anything that is not scientifically-established knowledge); an expansion of the interpretation that goes beyond the 'illnesses' and treatments that go beyond drugs/surgeries, exploring the knowledge of the users and professionals and the return of the problems to autonomous supported management.