What is Medicalization?
Medicalization means various phenomena that have been considered to occur in social life such as religion, judiciary, education, and home are gradually becoming the target of medical treatment.
One example of medicalization is that “restless children” and “children’s poor performance”. Which have been regarded as a parental discipline and educational problems, have come to be recognized as hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities. Phenomena that were once carried by families, communities. And religions, such as pregnancy, childbirth, and death, now dealt with in the medical setting.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and/or dementia (senile dementia, Senile). Which was classified as one of the psychiatric disorders of the elderly, is “blurring” that the high degree of cognitive function declines with the ageing of humans. Becoming a target of treatment as “diagnosis” with Dementia) etc. is a typical medicalization. The shift of childbirth sites in developed countries from home births to hospitals. And maternity hospitals often take up as an example of medicalization.
The road to health also needs to be acquired by oneself
Talk to your doctor about your physical and mental health problems. But that alone is not enough. Unfortunately, medical care cannot solve everything. Some illnesses have no cure for current medical treatment. While others discharge from the hospital but suffer from sequelae after surgery.
When that happens, we will want more medical research, new treatments, and new drug developments to improve our quality of life. In the case of a disease that has prejudice due to the lack of understanding of society. We would like to hope that prejudice will be eliminated as much as possible. To that end, we cannot stay still. We need to take action ourselves, raise awareness of the disease in society. And ask society to understand the disease. In this way, ” health activism ” refers to the behaviour of promoting one’s own illness or disability to society and striving to spread understanding.
In the United States, breast cancer patients have climbed Kilimanjaro. Which reported in the news. They didn’t become mountaineers. By challenging the world’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro. We will introduce through the media that we not defeated by illness and that we can work so vigorously. They also aimed to encourage women who are fighting the same breast cancer and patients who are fighting serious illnesses. While also inspiring society to be interested in their illnesses.
Originally, the idea of health activism became known in the United States when the AIDS problem occurred in the 1980s.
When AIDS began to spread, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were working to elucidate the cause. But the government did not provide much research funding for this issue and sufficient results obtained. During that time, many people died of the disease. AIDS initially thought to occur in the gay (male gay) community of big cities.
However, in reality, the PLHA (People Living with HIV / AIDS) community also made up of haemophiliacs and drug enthusiasts. Who give intravenous injections and in the gay community they themselves. It became necessary to unite in order to protect.
The activist group has begun to work to provide medical services and housing to patients and to develop public health education on lifestyle changes needed to curb the wave of infection. “ACT UP” was founded in New York in 1987 and is probably the most well-known organization. Their actions have attracted public attention, attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies, government officials and researchers, earned large donations. And produced a faster new drug approval process and other important outcomes.
Power, health as a resource
WHO uses the terms “perfect” and “condition” in the definition of health to seek the ideal “state”. Which encourages excessive reliance on health care. Then it is criticized. If there is ideal health. It is the story of an era when acute illnesses such as infectious diseases that could be cured were the main ones. It is said that it is not suitable for the times. When it is necessary to keep up with chronic diseases for a long time as well as prevent them.
In addition, with the change to chronic diseases, medical care has developed. And “conditions” that were not once the target of medical care are becoming the target of medical care. For example, “restless children” and “children’s poor grades” come to regard as hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities. Birth, death, obesity, etc. have already been covered by medical treatment for a long time.
Such a phenomenon is called “medicalization”. Of course, while some people can be saved by it. There a risk that various problems left to medical care. And the underlying social problems will be difficult to see. There is also a concern that people will lose their inherent ability to deal with and solve problems and their confidence.