BBC Radio 4 has a short but excellent programme on the increasing medicalisation of human sadness which notes that even everyday talk about difficult but necessary life events is being increasingly couched in medical terms.
The writer and presenter of the piece, journalist Mary Kenny, notes, for example, how the concept of trauma is being increasingly applied to mourning, previously considered a painful but normal response to tragic circumstances. She also tackles how this tendency is being reflecting in the ongoing widening of the criteria for mental illness.
Kenny’s piece neither relies on tired simplifications of ‘evil drug companies’ nor falls back on simple explanations for mental illness and makes for a insightful short analysis of how our understanding of human distress is changing.
Unfortunately, you can only listen to a streamed version of the piece and it will disappear in four days, so catch it while you can.