Book Review

Running Head: BOOK REVIEW 1
Book Review
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Book Review
The book, The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions
into Treatable Disorders by Peter Conrad properly analyzes most of the common medical
conditions that range from hyperactivity to osteoporosis. Some of these medical conditions were
not even initially recognized a century ago. They were left to the unknown and people never
really thought about these conditions. They never gave them much thought, and so they were
never known. Medicalization then according to the book refers to the process by which some of
this phenomenon and so many others have begun to be recognized and treated as medical
conditions in the world today. Peter Conrad is a sociologist at The Brandeis University has
always spent much of his career time trying to learn and study the various aspects that normally
exist in medicalization. His new book captures some of the earlier writings that lived way back
before as well other ideas that keep coming or new ideas that develop every time.
He ensures that he captures both the old and the new in this particular book making the
book very relevant. The fact that he captures the new ideas makes the book to be updated and
relevant to the very issues that are with us or work against us in our society today in general. The
introduction chapter is well read and is followed by four chapters that dwell on case studies
(Conrad, 2007). Then the book has three last chapters that majorly dwell on the theoretical
aspects of the book in general. They properly analyze the theoretical issues, and explanations that
come along with what it means and the state that Conrad brings out clearly in his book.
The mat of this particular volume and book are the four case studies that the book offers
in general. The case studies draw clearly as it easily seen can draw from articles that Conrad had
been able to publish elsewhere before this particular book. The first case study Conrad talks
about males. He alleges that the male aging process has for a long time been medicalized in
general (Conrad, 2007). Such can be seen in discussions that have been recently on issues such
as a male pattern baldness, the erectile dysfunction in men, and the andropause which is
normally purported to be the direct opposite and replacement of menopause for women on the
other side in general. It is these things that Conrad argues that indeed the male bring has been
medicalized in general. The three phenomena could as well be thought to be a part of the natural
process for the men in our society in general. Another aspect could also be the low storage that is
associated with men also by the slow aging process that we see men go through in their day to
day society in general. It is such things that he defines and says that the male being has been
medicalized over time in general. However, as Conrad put it clearly in his book, all these terms
and conditions that were thought to be natural have been now capturing in the books of
medicine. The only slight change is that they have now developed little complex names that to
describe the situations in a proper way in general. For example, the androgenic alopecia is
usually used to refer to the baldness that was previously thought to be a natural process in
general. It was thought to be natural to the extent that it was not captured in the books of
medicine or it had not even a medical term that could be used to describe the condition (Conrad,
2007). Physicians are normally the people who get to diagnose such conditions in the first place
leaving to the pharmacists who are normally very eager and yearning to be able to come up with
medicines that can be able to treat such conditions effectively. Conrad also notes how each of the
conditions for men involves an extension of a medical type or category in general. For instance,
the low testosterone has always been extended to include and target aging men in general in our
society today.
In his second case study, Conrad can track the expansion of a medical category in
general. The expansion is specifically on the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder commonly
referred to as ADHD from not just children like its perceived to be but to also adults who also
equally suffer in this quagmire in equal terms and measures in the society, in general, today
because of the same. Conrad can prove how self-diagnosed advocates and support groups are
well able to expand the concept also to include adults. It includes even successful men in the
society who seem not have a mental disorder associated with them all the times in general.
According to him, he separates the two in clear terms. He says that for ADHD in children it is
normally bad behavior whereas for adults, in general, it is underperformance at whichever place
that they are normally associated with or workaround in general. In adults, it is often associated
with the lack of self-contentment that comes with nourishment that he or she has been able to
achieve to achieve in his entire life in general. Many of the characteristics that are associated
with ADHD in adults as he can say include things such easily being distracted and the ability to
be able to forget so fast even in things that are very important and useful to them in nature. The
mismatch between the two and their goals and another is also a very important sign of ADHD
that is easily seen from time to time in general (Conrad, 2007). Such is as a result of the ADHD
that is found by adults in general. Conrad recommends that just like children adults should also
as well begin treatment that could see them get treated for that particular condition as well just
like their children counterparts in general.
The third case that Conrad talks about is a condition that is well known as ethical issues.
It is prescribing the human growth to persons of short stature in general. Late until 1985, this
condition was particularly meant for young children whose body condition could not be able to
produce enough HGH effectively. But after Synthetic ADHD was developed it began even to be
prescribed to even young children. It has always been used to help the AIDS patients and cancer
patients to help them recover after they have undergone chemotherapy in general (Conrad,
2007). However, there has been a controversial side to the drug in general. People have been
using it for the enhancements purposes rather than what it was originally intended to partake and
do in general.
In his final case study, he analyzes homosexuality. He notes that indeed homosexuality
has also been medicalized (Conrad, 2007). He notes slowly the growth in how people used to
view homosexuals over time in general. He notes that a while ago people used to view it as a
sinful thing and how it has slowly grown to be viewed as an unfortunate situation to now a
longer demedicalization that we see today. Therefore he says that conditions should always be
thought about in medical terms and not just be thought about in just natural manner in general.
Conrad's book is very crucial and helpful in some ways. However, the most important
and critical one is how he analyzes and makes medicalization a very diverse topic. He
specifically points to the stakeholders whose interests can influence the process. The book can
emphasize the different but related cause of medicalization in the world today. He is also very
cautious in the manner in which consumerism leads to diagnostic categories in the healthcare
arena in general. The book brings a clearer picture of medicalization that it is seen anywhere or
The book as well comes with some shortcomings just any other book in the world today.
One of them is that the author evades to comprehensively judge whether the medicalization of a
certain condition is appropriate at all times (Conrad, 2007). It is understandable though given
that he is just a social scientist, but it gives him a hard time and seems s awkward as he, later on,
discusses the same positions that he tries to evade at all times. The book is also uneven in its
accessibility in general whereas some of its chapters are thought to have been written at very
high levels of the society. Finally, Conrad appears to misstate some of the technical evaluations
that he ends up making in general. For instance, in he alleges that the gender ration that is the
male prevalence of the female prevalence has gone from 9:1 to 3:1. Current estimates, however,
disprove those facts entirely from being anywhere near the truth. In his book, he also claims that
the genetic nature of ADHD is still an issue that is still highly contested while on the contrary
researchers have been able to note that behaviors about ADHD have no clear genetic root at all
(Conrad, 2007). I, however, think that the book is too short and sometimes it lacks the
wholesome and exposition of explaining all the things efficiently well in his detailed analysis all
through the book.
In conclusion and from an overall point of view, the book The Medicalization of Society
is a very good and exciting book that opens up a whole new world to just yet another significant
discussion and topic in the world today. Readers do not always have to get a background in
medicine to understand what the author is talking about fully. They are issues that are completely
relatable and in one way or the other quickly understood. The book is of course on point in a
whole new way.
Conrad, P. (2007). The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions
into Treatable Disorders. New York City: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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