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January 2022

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1984 Jun; 8(2): 121-39.

Licorice in leviathan: the medicalization of care for the Japanese elderly.

Lock M.

Attitudes towards, and treatment of the elderly in Japan are discussed and the medicalization of their health care is examined. It is suggested that the ready availability of medical care will not eliminate the major problems that the elderly experience. The process by which traditional medicine has been incorporated systematically into the socialized health care system and its use in connection with the problems of elderly patients is documented. Modifications in the application of herbal medicine made by biomedical practitioners have been linked to cases of iatrogenesis in the elderly. In conclusion, the social construction of both traditional East Asian medicine and biomedicine in Japan is briefly examined; in both systems the somatic aspects of the problems of the elderly are emphasized while the social dimensions remain largely unquestioned.


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