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Here's an NPR story about the medicalization of what used to be considered the natural process of aging in men.

link: http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1667391

Over the past 10 years, a new medical term has made its way into doctors' offices: male menopause, or andropause. The idea that physical and psychological changes experienced by men in mid-life constitute a male climacteric, or life change, is not new. But in recent years, male menopause has been widely promoted, along with a remedy: testosterone replacement therapy. NPR's Alix Spiegel reports.

Here's a warning from Inquisition21.com

link: http://www.inquisition21.com/article55.html?&MMN_position=40:40

Frank Furedi, a professor of sociology at the University of Kent, sees us living in a culture of fear where we invent threats to the extent that our creativity, enterprise and liberty are at risk. ...knowing the risks causes us to have more anxiety, which means more business for the medical industry. According to Furedi, an increasing range of human behaviour - addictions, fear, passion, sex drive - are explained in narrow biological terms. As a result more and more personal problems are offered medical solutions. One unfortunate consequence of this tendency is that the medicalisation of human activity undermines the concept that individuals may be morally responsible for their own actions.

Richard Glen Boire wonders about the implications connected to the rapidly advancing science of the pharmacuetical enhancement and manipulation of memory.

link: http://www.betterhumans.com/Features/Columns/Guests/column.aspx?ArticleID=2004-01-15-3&sendToAFriendID=2004-01-28-1

Late last year, neurobiologists moved a step closer to developing drugs that may eventually make it possible to selectively erase memories that have disturbed a person for years or even decades. Whereas propranolol when used as a memory reducer must be taken in very close temporal proximity to the event that one seeks to forget, these new findings point to the possibility of selectively dumping or dimming memories of incidents that may have occurred as far back as early childhood. Such drugs could revolutionize the practice of psychotherapy.


Scientific developments are expanding the meaning of "medicine" and "mental health." In most areas of life we have embraced and applauded technology that improves human functioning and increases our abilities. Medicine can do more than simply restore normal functioning.

Neuropharmaceuticals currently in development will change the parameters of freedom of thought as much as the printing press and the Internet changed the parameters of freedom of speech. As with the printing press and the Internet, it's not so much the technology itself that should worry us, but rather governmental efforts to control it.

Dysphoria Syndrome:

If some people are tormented by traumatic memories, then those poor souls should have their memories edited to reduce their anxiety. Some individuals sufferring from TMIAD (Tramatic Memory-Induced Anxiety Disorder) may be so damaged that they not only fail to seek out SMET (Selective Memory Elimination Therepy) but refuse treatment when it is offered to them. For their own saftey and for society's collective emotional hygiene, such dysfuntional individuals will need to receive involuntary treatment, because, c'mon, who in his right mind would choose to be unhappy?

And the hoopla about the commercials aired during "the Big Game" have got me thinking about the proliferation of so-called "erectile disfunction" drugs (Viagra, Levitra, Cialis) for which we seem to have such an enormous market in the US. Wow! Was there really such an epidemic of ED in this country, or... ooooorrr... are a lot of men who have no particular difficulty putting the wind in their sails using these drugs to enhance normal sexual performance?

The precise dialog escapes me at the moment, but one of Plato's dialogs begins with an older man telling a group of thinkers of big thoughts how happy he is to be past the fires and tempestuous passions and obsessions of youth. Now that all that hormone-induced noise in his head has died down, he can finally get around to doing some thinking. But what if that life change described by the old geezer receives the diagnosis of andropause by the medicalization establishment, AKA the Thereputic State. Now the old geezer's trying to tell us that he's glad to have developed this debilitating condition? "Yeah, yeah, Grampa. Just take your medicine."

link: http://reason.com/0007/fe.js.curing.shtml

Reason: Since The Myth of Mental Illness appeared, it seems that more and more areas of life have been medicalized. But at the same time it seems that people are more willing to question the authority of psychiatrists and of physicians in general. On balance, do you think psychiatrists and physicians have more or less power than they used to?

Szasz: I think they have much, much more power, but it has become increasingly covert and subtle. If you focus on psychiatrists per se, then perhaps they have a little less power, but the power has been diffused among "mental health professionals": school psychologists, grief counselors, drug treatment specialists, and so on. It pervades society. Sixty years ago, when I went to medical school, this kind of activity was limited entirely to psychiatrists.

So traditional psychiatrists may have less power. They certainly don't have the feudal slave estates of the old state hospitals, where the patients were washing their cars. That's gone. On the other hand, there is a Tocquevillean kind of oppression--a softer kind of totalitarianism.

He who Names a Thing: the Power and the Allure of Re-Definition:

Supposedly, the question of whether we should apply medical science to improving and enhancing healthy human beings or whether we should only aim to make people well but essentially not enhance their capabilities beyond their "natural" capacities remains open. By medicalizing our previously frustrated desires concerning the limitations of our minds and bodies, the medical profession, in collaboration with government and the pharacuetical industry have managed to coax us a good ways down the human-upgrade path while avoiding the unresolved bio-ethical question: "Do we want to go there?"

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