The definition of disease, illness or disability are a matter of details of definitions. Mostly it is left entirely to medical professionals to define the limits of what shall be considered a disease or not. Pathology is the scientific discipline dealing with this difficult task. As in the scientific endeavor it is honorable to crown your research by finding or defining a new disease not necessarily finding a treatment for it, we have learned about new diseases at regular intervals. Attention deficit syndrome also known as hyperactivity is such an example. Many pupils have received treatments and some made splendid progress in their education due to early recognition of their condition as well as abilities. However, some children have received treatment with questionable diagnostic evidence or just to be able to fit into our modern ways of organizing our schools. We might frame this as a process of “to pathologise” persons or whole groups in society.

The American definition of what constitutes a higher than normal blood pressure or colesterol deviates from the one applied in many European countries so that sometimes the double amount of people should receive medical attention and treatment. From this it becomes more evident that even within the field of pathology there is a societal dimension to it. The “dry january” addresses the pathology of alcohol addiction. Smoking falls into a similar category but no smoke free month has been suggested yet. While it has become normal to overuse antibiotics we shouldn’t reproduce the same mistakes with other medications. We simply need a broader discourse about pathology and the societal origins and implications of it. From the Roman times we have amphitheaters and sacred buildings that we value today. Few sanatoria have survived but a few Roman baths as a preventative approach have survived in the British city of Bath or in the German city of Trier, both quite far from Rome. We should sometimes think more carefully before defining a disease. Not all are pathological. If it seems difficult to stem against the trend of “pathologising”. The ensuing overload of the medical system in consequence is a serious issue. The medical system will degenerate into a system to manage waiting queues with absurd, unequal and unnecessary adverse outcomes. Therefore, sociologists consider the pathologising of societies as just another kind of pathology.

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