The Medicalization of Everyday Life: Selected Essays

The Medicalization of Everyday Life: Selected Essays

by Thomas Szasz
     
 

A collection of essays by one of the most influential and original thinkers of our generation.

Defining "medicalization" as the perception of nonmedical conditions as medical problems and nondiseases as diseases, Thomas Szasz has devoted much of his career to exposing the dangers of "medicalizing" the conditions of some who simply refuse to conform to society's

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Overview

A collection of essays by one of the most influential and original thinkers of our generation.

Defining "medicalization" as the perception of nonmedical conditions as medical problems and nondiseases as diseases, Thomas Szasz has devoted much of his career to exposing the dangers of "medicalizing" the conditions of some who simply refuse to conform to society's expectations. Szasz argues that modern psychiatry's tireless ambition to explain the human condition has led to the treatment of life's difficulties and oddities as clinical illnesses rather than as humanity revealed in its fullness.

This collection of impassioned essays, published between 1973 and 2006, chronicles the author's long campaign against the orthodoxies of psychiatry. From "Medicine to Magic" to "Medicine as Social Control," the book delves into the fascinating history of medicalization, including "The Discovery of Drug Addiction," "Persecutions for Witchcraft and Drugcraft," and "Food Abuse and Foodaholism." In a society that has little tolerance for those who live outside its rules, Dr. Szasz's writings are as relevant today as ever.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815608677
Publisher:
Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Szasz is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York. His books include Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry, The Manufacture of Madness, Ideology and Insanity, Our Right to Drugs, The Myth of Psychotherapy, and Pharmacracy, all published by Syracuse University Press.

Table of Contents


Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     xiii
Demarcating Disease from Nondisease
Mental Illness: A Metaphorical Disease     3
Mental Illness: The New Phlogiston     10
Might Makes the Metaphor     19
Diagnosis: From Description to Prescription     21
Diagnoses Are Not Diseases     27
The Existential Identity Thief     37
Defining Disease     41
Disturbing Behavior and Medicine's Responses to It
The Origin of Psychiatry: Coercion as Cure     55
Hysteria as Language     71
Routine Neonatal Circumcision: A Medical Ritual     80
The Fatal Temptation: Drug Control and Suicide     90
Pedophilia Therapy     94
Psychiatry's War on Criminal Responsibility     102
Killing as Therapy: The Case of Terri Schiavo     117
Peter Singer's Ethics of Medicalization     134
Pharmacracy: The New Despotism     150
Notes     171
Selected Bibliography     189
Index     197

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