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Medicalization of Lifestyle Health Issues

  • By: Thomas I. Mackie & Peter Conrad
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

In the past 50 years, there has been a considerable expansion in the number of life problems that have become defined in the medical realm. As articulated by Peter Conrad in The Medicalization of Society, medicalization is primarily a definitional issue, in which historically nonmedical problems are defined and treated as medical conditions. Medicalization occurs through the definition of nonmedical problems in medical terms, the application of medical language, the adoption of a medical framework, or “treatment” with a medical intervention. Since World War II, the terrain of medical conditions has undergone considerable expansion to include additional diagnoses, some of the most prevalent being attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), erectile dysfunction (ED), anorexia, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), menopausal ...

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