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Biological Sciences

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Medicalization in the United States has created more consistent classification and treatment guidelines for disorders and diseases nation-wide. However, the concept may foster a tendency toward premature diagnosis. The same can be said about pharmaceuticalization and quickness to medicate. Drug innovation and administration can be integral to quality of life, but how does this relationship shift when health becomes a commodity? How can the business end of medicine and pharmacy conflict with ethical responsibilities to patients? Here I utilize the increase in American Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnoses and psychostimulant prescriptions to illustrate potential repercussions of an increasingly medicalized and pharmaceuticalized society. I argue that the premature prescription of medication in response to rising ADHD diagnoses is an unethical course of treatment, thereby impeding the identification of the true causes underlying the symptoms and exposing the patient to unnecessary drug risks and side effects as a reflection of commercialized health.