I found this text stimulating, mainly because as Emily stated, we are living in the middle of "Medicalization," which is defining many oft-described conditions as new pathologies, in need of medical care.
I always seem to find myself on the fence about many of these conditions, such as ADD and ADHD. As Professor Jennings mentioned today, many feel that we are simply medicating people instead of working to provide an environment conducive to growth. I agree with that anti-medicalization stance, but I also recognize that many of these "new" conditions which have come about do in fact have symptoms which can be helped through medicine. As a result, I think the classic drop in expectations of the "diseased" must be changed along with the amorphous category. Many of these conditions in contention, such as ADD/ADHD should not only be treated with only drugs or only without drugs (most people seem to be on one side or the other), but should be treated with both lifestyle changes, as well as drug intervention if needed.
I find it extremely difficult to take sides on any of these diseases or conditions, because I see the point of view that a pathology causes most of the conditions, as well as idea that medical intervention is not needed for most of them. I feel that this is where the thin line between "necessary treatment" and "quality treatment" lies. Of course one does not need Ritalin to survive, but treatment for ADHD could improve a person's life considerably. Essentially Conrad's book once again reinforced the idea that the relationship between society and healthcare is extremely complicated, and changes as society does.