Posts Tagged ‘Medicalization’

Continuing my medicalization kick (and because I haven’t talked about Huck Finn in a while), a recent post at Slate highlights the way that the behaviors that we have medicalized in children today, such as ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, likely existed long before our labels.  While this is not a surprise, the conclusion brings up an interesting point:

But if the children and the parents are familiar, the society surrounding them is not. In fact, Tom Sawyer turns out fine in the end. In 19th-century Missouri, there were still many opportunities for impulsive kids who were bored and fidgety in school. The very qualities that made him so tiresome—curiosity, hyperactivity, recklessness—are precisely the ones that get him the girl, win him the treasure, and make him a hero. Even Huck Finn is all right at the end of his story. Although he never learns to tolerate “sivilization,” he knows he can head out to “Indian territory,” to the empty West where even the loose rules of Missouri life won’t have to be followed.

Nothing like that is available to children who don’t fit in today. Instead of striking out into the wilderness like Huck Finn, they get sent to psychologists and prescribed medication—if they are lucky enough to have parents who can afford that sort of thing. Every effort will be made to help them pay attention, listen to the teacher, stop picking fights in the playground, and rightly so. Nowadays, there aren’t any other options.

Read Full Post »

While I am not particularly old, I have been doing some adult-like things lately and even planning for my own demise.  Despite my relative youth, the recent health of my grandparents has me considering the negative aspects of long life.  A few years ago my grandmother had a heart attack, since which she has been on medications that may have contributed to the stroke she had last year.  Most recently, it was determined that one of her medications is preventing her heart from working effectively.  While I am not anti-medicine (or anti-vaccination, for that matter), there has to be a point at which the medicalization of old age becomes counter productive.  (Maybe we all need to think a bit more about the old woman who swallowed a fly.)  I recognize that it is easy to make these sorts of proclamations while one is healthy and relatively youthful, but I hope that in my old age I am willing to convince others to let me put aside the drugs and, if necessary, die.

Read Full Post »