Medicalization or medicalisation (see spelling differences) is the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus become the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. Medicalization can be driven by new evidence or hypotheses about conditions; by changing social attitudes or economic considerations; or by the development of new medications or treatments.
Medicalization is studied from a sociologic perspective in terms of the role and power of professionals, patients, and corporations, and also for its implications for ordinary people whose self-identity and life decisions may depend on the prevailing concepts of health and illness. Once a condition is classified as medical, a medical model of disability tends to be used in place of a social model. Medicalization may also be termed “pathologization” or (pejoratively) “disease mongering”. Since medicalization is the social process through which a condition becomes a medical disease in need of treatment, medicalization may be viewed as a benefit to human society. Upon identification of a condition as a disease, certain symptoms and conditions can be treated, and this will improve the overall quality of life.
To characterize as a pathology or disease; to characterize (a person) as suffering from a disease.
“Some childhood behavior has been pathologized as attention-deficit disorder.”
alternative spelling of pathologize