Medicalization is a process through which a non-medical problem is determined and then classified as a disease or a disorder and then treated accordingly (Conrad & Bergey, 2015).
This term first appeared in sociology literature during the 1980s by researchers Conrad and Schneider in their studies of deviance. This process analyses different human behaviors that are considered abnormal or deviant. For instance; alcohol addiction was seen as a habit that an individual had developed but through medicalization, this behavior was termed as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) by American Psychological Association (APA) (Marcus, Gold, & Shutt).
In past, when individuals showed abnormal behavior, society reacted by distancing themselves from them, but now that it has been proved that many unusual behaviors are results of different disorders, the negative stigma has somewhat, alleviated and these individuals can receive the necessary support that they require.
In the spring of 2020, our entire lives became medicalized due to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Normal day-to-day actions now had major consequences. People could not meet each other, gatherings were prohibited, and everything from work to school was conducted online. The outside world had become a dangerous place and no one was safe (Degerman, 2020). Although medicalization is not a new phenomenon, the intensity of it that everyone has faced is unique in recent history. While this medicalization was unavoidable, it still had major ramifications on our lives, as hearing about the harrowing count of deaths of every day affected people mentally and being cooped up in one place did not help in lessening this mental stress. It seemed like not only the World but time had come to a standstill and with each passing day, news of people dying became worse, and hope started to dwindle. It seemed like nothing will go back to normal but thankfully, after a year, with the development of the vaccine life is slowly returning to a new normal.
Conrad, P., & Bergey, M. (2015). Medicalization: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives.
Degerman, D. (2020). The political is medical now: COVID-19, medicalization and political theory. Theory and Event, 16.
Marcus, M., Gold, E., & Shutt, A. (n.d.). WHAT IS MEDICALIZATION? Retrieved from Subcultures and Sociology: https://haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/subcultural-theory-and-theorists/medicalization/