The Shifting Engines of Medicalization - Social scientists and other analysts have written about medicalization since at least the 1970s. While early critics of medicalization focused on psychiatry (Szasz, 1970) or a more general notion of medical imperialism (Illich, 1975), sociologists began to examine the processes of medicalization and the expanding realm of medicine (Freidson, 1970; Zola, 1972). As sociological studies on medicalization accumulated (see Conrad, 1992; 2000) it became clear that medicalization went far beyond psychiatry and was not always the product of medical imperialism, but of more complex social forces. The essence of medicalization became the definitional issue: defining a problem in medical terms, usually as an illness or disorder, or using a medical intervention to treat it. While the medicalization process could be bidirectional and partial rather than complete, there is strong evidence for expansion rather than contraction of medical jurisdiction.
Keywords: consumerism, managed care, medicalization, medicine, ADHD, sociology of health.
Parole chiave: consumerismo, managed care, medicalizzazione, medicina, ADHD, sociologia della salute.