is a pejorative
term for a perceived practice of widening the diagnostic boundaries of illnesses, and promoting public awareness of such, in order to expand the markets for those who sell and deliver treatments, which may include pharmaceutical companies
, physicians, and other professional or consumer organizations. Examples include male-type baldness and certain social phobias
. In discussions specifically about the validity of psychiatry
, the term is frequently also used by proponents of the antipsychiatry movement
based critics to discredit psychiatry, neurobiological disorders, and the medications used for treatment. Examples include ADHD
and bipolar disorder
Proponents of this practice argue that the pharmaceutical industry is only providing the public with information about its options and that actual prescription is a matter to be discussed between patient and doctor. Opponents, however, claim that this approach leads to the unnecessary prescription of drugs, that its motivation is only to profit the drug companies, and that it may actually harm instead of help patients.
A 2006 Newcastle, New South Wales conference, reported in PLoS Medicine, explored the phenomenon further Journalist Ray Moynihan satirised it in a BMJ "news" item that appeared in its April Fool's Day edition 2006, titled "Scientists find new disease: motivational deficiency disorder".
- Peter Conrad: The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2007
- Payer, Lynn (1992). Disease-Mongers. New York: John Wiley.
- Moynihan, Ray; Alan Cassels (2005). Selling sickness: How the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies are turning us all into patients. New York: Nation Books.