Medical treatment

 

Needs to be about 12 sentences and needs to reference the source that is attached. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of medicalization (or

demedicalization). Some background on topic is: this lesson, you’ll be reading more explicitly about patterned responses to illness and disease through

the concepts of medicalization and stigma. You will learn how deviant behaviors and physiological occurrences have come to be seen as medical matters,

rather than religious or legal ones.

Medicalization involves the transformation of a condition or behavior into a problem to be solved by medical practitioners. For instance, deviant

behaviors (such as alcoholism) and physiological occurrences (such as menstruation or baldness) come under medical purview.

The dominance of medical definitions and authority is a relatively recent phenomenon. Historically, medical practitioners and their evaluations of

illness or disease did not hold sway as the authoritative voice. During the Middle Ages, religious authorities defined what was considered deviant

behavior (or physiology) and provided the corresponding cure, but as the Middle Ages came to an end, legal definitions assumed more weight in defining

deviance (though religious authorities still aided in and undergird the creation of those definitions). Legal definitions of deviance were central for a

few hundred years, but as the practice of medicine became increasingly professionalized, medical definitions gained moral authority. As Freund et al.

(2003:134) explain:

This shifting balance [from legal definitions to medical ones] is clearly reflected in the 1954 precedent-setting case Durham v. United States (214 F.2d

863), in which the court ruled that “an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or mental defect.”

The shift in balance favoring medical definitions of deviance corresponds chronologically with a period of the rapid professionalization of medicine,

when medical discoveries and technology proceeded quickly, and public faith in science and medicine was increasing.

Part of the reason for the declining importance of religious definitions is that they appear too nonrational and, in a religiously pluralistic country,

lack society-wide acceptance. Legal definitions, although more rational, seem to hinge too greatly on human decisions, such as the judgment of twelve

ordinary citizens on a jury. Medical definitions, by contrast, appear to be more rational and scientific, and based on technical expertise rather than

human judgment.

 

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