The Medicalization of Everyday Life: Selected Essays

  • by Thomas Szasz
  • Narrated by Gary D. MacFadden
  • 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Defining "medicalization" as the perception of nonmedical conditions as medical problems and nondiseases as diseases, Thomas Szasz has devoted much of his career to exposing the dangers of "medicalizing" the conditions of some who simply refuse to conform to society's expectations.
Szasz argues that modern psychiatry's tireless ambition to explain the human condition has led to the treatment of life's difficulties and oddities as clinical illnesses rather than as humanity revealed in its fullness.
This collection of impassioned essays, published between 1973 and 2006, chronicles the author's long campaign against the orthodoxies of psychiatry. From "Medicine to Magic" to "Medicine as Social Control", the audiobook delves into the fascinating history of medicalization, including "The Discovery of Drug Addiction", "Persecutions for Witchcraft and Drugcraft", and "Food Abuse and Foodaholism".
In a society that has little tolerance for those who live outside its rules, Dr. Szasz's writings are as relevant today as ever.

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What the Critics Say

"This is a wonderful, impassioned book that is, considering the recent media attention to psychopharmaceuticals, a welcome investigation of the social ramifications involved." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An overview of Szasz's ideas

"The Medicalization of Everyday Life" contains a selection of Szasz's essays about how moral and political disagreements are often portrayed as medical problems rather than problems in living. The narrator is clear and can be easily understood. It is an excellent book to listen to if you want to get an impression of the full scope of Szasz's ideas so that you can decide what other Szasz books you might like to read.

Psychiatry is a prominent example of medicalisation. Jim is behaving in a way that Jill dislikes. Instead of discussing Jim's behaviour or leaving Jim, Jill calls in a psychiatrist who declares Jim mentally ill. Thus a moral problem is obfuscated by portraying it as a medical problem.

Another example is that people are uncomfortable with discussing suicide. So instead of discussing the reasons why a person might commit suicide we try to deprive people of the means to commit suicide. Two policies used to do this are drug prohibition and involuntary commitment for dangerousness to yourself or others.

These positions and many others are explained in this book in more depth and with greater clarity than is possible in a book review. Anybody who wants to be challenged to think more about the ways in which we deny personal responsibility and the terrible implications of doing so should listen to this book.

The narration of the book is clear.
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- Alan Michael Forrester

Book Details

  • Release Date: 24-07-2014
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks