I chose depression as a condition that has been over medicalized in our society because it is something that I can relate to having been diagnosed with depression/anxiety two years ago.  For a long period of time I didn’t recognize the symptoms and I finally lost control and hit rock bottom.  Just receiving a diagnosis made a huge difference for me and I understand how people suffering with depression would want something that is just going to fix the problem.  Personally I am not one that thinks a pill is the answer to everything.  I worked with a doctor to get to the under lying causes and we formed a course of “treatment” that would work long term instead of taking an anti-depressant.  This is another reason that I feel depression is over medicalized.  I feel that having so many advertisements for anti-depressant medications everywhere has increased the amount of people being prescribed.  I’m sure that before anti-depressants, depression was treated successfully with other methods.  A pill is not going to treat the underlying cause of a person’s depression.  Now they have drugs that work with anti-depressants if people still aren’t getting full relief from their symptoms with one prescription.

In this commercial they personify depression as being a hole, a balloon, a ball and chain, etc. It is always following her around.  The patient in the video is a woman, which makes sense because a majority of people suffering with depression are women.  They introduce the doctor into the advertisement by having him “help” the woman out of the hole.  He puts on a video for her that tells her how Abilify can help her as well as the possible side effects. After her meeting with her doctor, she is shown enjoying herself with her family, stating that her depression used to define her and after starting Abilify she “feels better”.

4 thoughts on “Depression

  1. This commercial is about the drug Abilify, which is supposed to be taken with anti-depressant medications in order to improve symptoms associated with depression. I think that this advertisement does a good job using the hole as a metaphor for depression, using a woman to make others feel like they have a connection, and letting people know that they too can get help with controlling their depression. Another aspect of the ad I liked was how they did not try to hide the medical information- they spoke at a normal speed and told listeners important information that they may need to know.
    Continuing on, I too also suffer from depression, and agree that simply taking a pill does not work to cure the condition. The goal of most Western medicines, and these anti-depressant pills, is to treat symptoms so sufferers can live normal lives. Most Americans have very busy lifestyles, and are always on the go, and value the idea that taking a pill can make them feel better. The video from lecture this week called “Pill Poppers” discusses the effects that drugs can have on people. Some interesting facts were that some medications that help you in the short- term can have negative effects in the future, some medicines can be used to treat more than one condition, and that medications are usually “discovered not developed.” An example of one medication being used to treat more than one condition is something that I have experienced in my life. I suffer from both depression and chronic migraines, and have been prescribed anti- depressants to help control my migraines.
    There is no doubt that drugs such as abilify, or any other medications for that matter, help people deal with their symptoms, and help people live better lives. Although treating symptoms of debilitating conditions is great, perhaps the American public and medical professionals need to place more importance on alternative medicines in order to create a more healthy America.


    BBC Horizon- Pill Poppers Film
    Week 5 Materials

  2. I agree with this analysis for this commercial. Her depression went from being depicted as a ball and chain kind of holding her down and gets worse becoming a hole in the ground that was almost collapsing on her, if you want to go that far into it. Also at that point she’s completely alone and telling how she felt to get people who might be watching something to relate to. Then there’s the doctor who literally pulls her out of her depression by telling her about the drug. After that she is able to spend the day out with her family because she can control it. That agrees with another point that was made in your post. They are aiming at one of probably the widest ranges they can with women and or women with families. I would have thought that they would have completely taken the depression balloon thing out of the commercial once she learned about the drug to kind of emphasize it being gone but instead it stayed in the background.
    I think our culture kind of likes a quick fix, so turning someone’s problem into an illness that can be fixed just by taking some medication is going to be pretty appealing to some people. Another part of our culture is that if there is money to be made—someone is going to take advantage of that.

  3. I do agree with most of your points about Abilify. However, Abilify is taken along with an anti-depressant the patient is already prescribed. I do agree women tend to be more depressed than men but there are a lot of men out there that deal with depression. They just tend to not be as open about it.

    I have also been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. My immediate thought when I was diagnosed was, what pill could I take to help this? Our culture is so focused on quick fixes that tend to come in the form of pills. These pills are usually short-term fixes and don’t focus on long-term health. As it was talked about in this week’s film, they don’t know what a medication is going to do to someone until they actually take it. The medications aren’t developed. They tend to stumble upon them. Just like how Viagra was intended to treat angina. When I started to take an anti-depressant I found that it helped with some symptoms but also caused me to gain 20 lbs. I then decided to look for alternative ways to help treat my depression and anxiety. I found that exercising daily greatly helped reduce my symptoms. Our culture needs to also focus more on finding alternative ways to treat the problem instead of just helping the symptoms. People can be healthy and successful and have an overall positive well being without always popping some sort of pill.

    Week 5 materials

  4. I agreed with your analysis on depression. I believe too that a pill is not the answer to everything thing. Like I understand that in some cases people have to take pills or medication but if there is another approach with less medication I think that that is the better way to go. I think that you pretty much touched on all the important points. Your analysis of the commercial was interesting too like you said about how more women have depression so the doctor was pulling her out of the hole. The commercial really does show how over medicalized depression is because seeing these advertisements just cause people to seek more medication.
    The role of medications in American society in terms of medicalization and biomedicalization is curing or helping our problems. Whether it be the way our body functions or something mental. Illnesses are medicalized through biomedicine facts that they have found and then medications are then experimented with and diagnosed to help and enhance a persons life. I think that what this says about our cultural values and ideologies is that we are very much based on fact if we have an illness it makes us feel better that it is medicalized and that we actually know what is going on with us. I think that it shows that we all want our best possible well being that is why medication becomes something that is so dependent for some of us. Like in the lecture it said that biomedicine is so pervasive in our culture it is hard to tell when culture ends and medicine begins. It also described how the growth of mass production, consumer capitalism. mass media, information technologies, communication technologies, and biotechnology’s have influenced and made biomedicine grow. All these things gives us success in the future for longer lives because of all the awareness and new technologies out.

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