The term “medicalization” describes a society’s gradually expanding definition of what counts as a medical disorder. Conditions that used to be seen as natural processes, individual quirks, personal misfortunes, or moral weaknesses are socially constructed as diseases in need of medical treatment. Read the article by Fauber and Fiore (2016), “New and expanded medical definitions create more patients—and a lucrative market for drug firms: It depicts medicalization in fairly negative terms, as a source of profit for money-hungry companies, doctors, and others. But could medicalization have positive consequences—for potential patients, families, the advancement of health overall? Keep in mind some conditions not mentioned in the article that have been medicalized over the last several decades: obesity, infertility, menopause, social anxiety disorder, addiction, compulsive gambling and hoarding, kleptomania (compulsive shoplifting), elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Write a page evaluating the benefits and costs of medicalization for society as a whole, and/or for particular groups. Focusing on a specific condition may be helpful. If you can use concepts from any of the theoretical approaches, do so! And keep in mind that the goal isn’t to decide whether medicalization is purely good or bad, but rather to describe and analyze its social consequences.