Monday, March 19, 2012

Thoughts on Medicalization of Society

While reading Peter Conrad’s book Medicalization of Society, there are many aspects of medicalization that I find very interesting. As someone who one day hopes to be a doctor, I find myself trying to justify the benefits of medicalization. But at the same time, having mother that often prefers the ideas of more Eastern medicine and believes that America is over medicalized leaves me a bit skeptical. My skepticism, however, does not stem from the disbelief in the effectiveness of more Western medicine but more in the distrust of the corporate giants of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
            I tell myself that having huge companies is the most efficient way to develop and produce many of the technological and pharmaceutical advances in medicine. But keeping in mind that the main goal of these companies is often to make a profit, failure does not seem to be an option for the huge investments they make. As Conrad quotes from Goode in the Medicalization of Society, “‘The impression often conveyed by commercials for the drugs is clear: almost anyone could benefit from them’” (19). Conrad also says how the companies seem to advocate the “problem” their drug “cures” as both common, to eliminate the stigma, and abnormal, as to justify medical interventions. This deception is what often leaves me skeptical. As a doctor one day, I hope to always keep the patient care as my top priority by having a healthy level of skepticism while not letting the skepticism interfere with the benefits of medicalization and potential medical advances. Doctors need to look at patients as patients, not consumers. 

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