Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Disease Entities and Mental Health

In my series of posts on the capitalist approach to health, I noted, in particular, the relevance of disease categories. I suggested that lumping complex phenomena into discrete categories fit patterns of research funding and the proliferation of commodities (namely drugs) as interventions. I even noted Autism as an example of this proclivity.

Well, apparently, that’s how some mental health professionals are starting to see things as well. Of course, their alternatives are still pervaded with capitalist logic and a governmental focus on normality and pathology. Yet, they recognize the role played by those who fund research, the pharmaceutical industry, and even (this is something I previously neglected) the personal identifications and campaigns that have evolved around these disease categories. Imagine what would happen to that all-powerful pink ribbon breast cancer campaign once cancer is viewed more in terms of genetic composition and less in terms of bodily location. How will we define women’s health when we can’t pin everything on the breasts?

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