The Treatment Of Physical And Mental Problems Essay

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The treatment of physical and mental problems has undergone a rapid change in the past few decades. An increasing number of bodily and behavioural symptoms now have a recognised medical diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Sociologists have attributed these changes to the process of medicalization, wherein “non-medical problems come to be defined and treated as if they were medical issues” (McLennan, McManus & Spoonley 2009: 271). Medicalization is an ongoing, gradual process which occurs through the social construction of new diseases by groups such as health professionals (Conrad 2007: 4). It can be argued that medicalization is an active and passive process by which diseases are constructed in an attempt to find treatments for patients; and that diseases can be ‘socially’ constructed as well as ‘corporately’ constructed by companies to create a profitable market of consumers. At the micro level of society, medicalization in the Western world has been influenced by liberal notions of individualization which has extended to some parts of the health sector. At the macro level, medicalization has been buoyed by the process of the professionalization, expansion of state monopoly over the health profession and religious and political social movements. Although some academics argue that the medicalization of society is less significant than the process of “de-medicalization”, there is clear evidence that the process of medicalization is intensifying and outstripping the rate
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