How to distinguish medicalization from over-medicalization?

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (1):119-128 (2019)

Abstract

Is medicalization always harmful? When does medicine overstep its proper boundaries? The aim of this article is to outline the pragmatic criteria for distinguishing between medicalization and over-medicalization. The consequences of considering a phenomenon to be a medical problem may take radically different forms depending on whether the problem in question is correctly or incorrectly perceived as a medical issue. Neither indiscriminate acceptance of medicalization of subsequent areas of human existence, nor criticizing new medicalization cases just because they are medicalization can be justified. The article: (i) identifies various consequences of both well-founded medicalization and over-medicalization; (ii) demonstrates that the issue of defining appropriate limits of medicine cannot be solved by creating an optimum model of health; (iii) proposes four guiding questions to help distinguish medicalization from over-medicalization. The article should foster a normative analysis of the phenomenon of medicalization and contribute to the bioethical reflection on the boundaries of medicine.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,879

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-06-29

Downloads
35 (#329,998)

6 months
1 (#386,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Emilia Kaczmarek
University of Warsaw

Similar books and articles

Patient Complains of …: How Medicalization Mediates Power and Justice.Alison Reiheld - 2010 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 3 (1):72-98.
The Medicalization of Love.Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (3):323-336.
Why Psychiatry Should Fear Medicalisation.Louis C. Charland - 2013 - In K. W. M. Fulford, Davies M., Gipps R., Graham G., Sadler J., Stanghellini G. & Thornton T. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford University Press. pp. 159-175.
The Medicalization of Love and Narrow and Broad Conceptions of Human Well-Being.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (3):337-346.
The Muddle of Medicalization: Pathologizing or Medicalizing?Jonathan Sholl - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):265-278.
Ethical Transparency and Economic Medicalization.Geoffrey Poitras & Lindsay Meredith - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 86 (3):313-325.