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The Medicalisation of Normality

March 30, 2009

IN advertising a programme on Radioy Four the BBC website has this to say:

Restless leg syndrome, social anxiety disorder, female sexual dysfunction, celebrity worship syndrome – it seems that a new illness is invented every week, covering every potential quirk in human behaviour.

Is the human condition becoming a medical condition?

Ten per cent of British children are regarded as having a clinically recognisable mental disorder, 34 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written in the UK in 2007, while it is estimated that 10% of US children take Ritalin to combat behaviour problems.

Dr Tim Kendall, Joint Director of the National Collaboration Centre for Mental Health and a key government adviser is deeply concerned at what he sees as a medicalisation of a vast swathe of society.

‘The Medicalisation of Normality’ is broadcast on BBC Radio Four at 2100 BST on Monday 30 March and repeated on Wednesday 1 April at 1630 BST.

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