Sleeping Disorders or Problems

I chose to look up sleeping problems and the use of prescription sleeping pills. I think it is an extremely medicalized issue in our society. Culturally we all wish we had more hours in each day and live busy and high stress lives. These are common causes for interrupted sleeping or inability to fall asleep. There is big money in pharmaceuticals to help people improve the amount of sleep they receive each night. It has become a “norm” to pop a sleeping pill to go to sleep. Some of the reasons one might use these drugs is during high stress times and travel, but if used for chronic sleep loss or insomnia it is suggested that you consult your doctor. (Mayo Clinic) Ultimately the doctor will try to identify the reasons for your difficulty sleeping.

In the article I read it stated that between thirty and fifty percent of people are using sleep aids or pills at some point. Many of these drugs especially the benzodiazepines are highly addicted. I unfortunately know someone who started taking these to relieve anxiety and sleep and would then take Adderall to wake up and be productive. The cycle would repeat and would take a sleeping pill to counter act the effects of the Adderall. Now this may not be the story for everyone it is possible with the addictive qualities of these drugs. Another example of the problems these pills can create is Heath Ledger and his eventual death following the filming of Batman. The obsession with 5-hour energy is another topic that I could go on about for days but we’ll stick to sleep aids.

 

The link that follows is commercial for Ambien CR.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG1hdWb8yBM

 

 

Advertising Strategies: The commercial is pretty simple and they use a relatable scenario. Everyone has felt drowsy and unproductive at work following a night of little sleep. They also use a very common looking woman. This allows the viewer to relate and start to see themselves taking the drug.

Cultural values and Social Roles: This commercial portrays the use of these drugs as social acceptable and a common practice. This scenario seems very normal. This shows a normal worker in need of sleep.

 

At the end of the commercial all the side effects and warnings are listed. The list of problems that is read off accounts for about seventy five percent of the commercial. There are severe side effects including

Minor side effects: Dizziness; drowsiness (including daytime drowsiness); “drugged” feeling; dry mouth; headache; muscle aches; nausea; nose or throat irritation; sluggishness; stomach upset; weakness

 

Major Side effects: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the hands, legs, mouth, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; throat closing; unusual hoarseness); abnormal thinking; behavior changes; chest pain; confusion; decreased coordination; difficulty swallowing or breathing; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; memory problems (eg, memory loss); mental or mood changes (eg, aggression, agitation, anxiety); new or worsening depression; severe dizziness; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or actions; vision changes.

 

They do say to contact a doctor if you experience severe symptoms or side effects. Well thank god for that warning. The most shocking side effects is possible sleep walking, eating, or driving.

 

Just like our Pill Poppers video said if the benefits do not outweigh the side effects maybe we should reconsider taking these pills.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleeping-pills/SL00010/

 

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/understanding-the-side-effects-of-sleeping-pills

 

3 thoughts on “Sleeping Disorders or Problems

  1. After watching the Ambien CR ad, I agree with your analysis and have a few additional reflections of my own. First, your point that the ad normalizes sleep medications is very insightful. By focusing on a normal-looking woman who works at a typical, generic office job, the ad makes this medication seem applicable to everyone. While the ad spends a large amount of time listing of risks and side effects, the viewer’s attention is directed towards the story of the woman in the ad. As uplifting music plays, we watch as she gets a normal night of sleep and shows up for work refreshed and energetic, while her exhausted coworker stares off into space. The advertisers’ intent behind this is to raise the question, “Why doesn’t the coworker also take advantage of Ambien CR to sleep well?”

    I agree that sleep deprivation and fatigue are becoming increasingly medicalized. Much of the problem stems from the modern lifestyle of constantly being on-the-go, resulting in many people willingly sacrificing sleep to save time for work or play. This attitude of sleep being an expendable use of time is contributing to the irregular sleep patterns rampant in the U.S. I think this serves as a cultural basis for medications like Ambien. Rather than adjust their adherence to our culture’s demand for maximum productivity, people choose the easier “solution” of taking a pill to regulate their sleep and increase their daily energy. Like the Pill Poppers documentary explained, the full effects of medications are not known until scientists can examine what happens in a population actually taking the drugs. People on medications like Ambien incur higher risks of suicide, behavioral changes, and other mental impairments that include daytime drowsiness, the very condition Ambien claims to solve.

  2. I thought your take one the advertisement was pretty spot on. Usually with commercials for pills and medicines the side effects are read off extremely fast and printed in tiny font. When you said that seventy-five percent of the commercial was devoted to the problems that go along with taking the pill, I thought that would be an overstatement. I was wrong. After giving a brief description of the positives that go along with the pill, the narrator of the commercial goes on to describe the conditions of the pill and the side effects. However, while the negatives are being listed off the woman in the commercial who was once miserable due to a lack of sleep is now in a great mood. The drug company uses that to distract the viewer from the information they are obligated to tell. The commercial also seems to hint that without the pill you won’t be able to get the proper amount of sleep and thus not feel tired all day.
    Another statistic from your blog that I found kind of startling is that between thirty and fifty percent of people use sleeping pills. That is an amazing statistic. Personally I have never used a sleeping pill, but I do know people who have on a regular basis. I feel that now in our culture taking pills and medications to solve any problem we face in life has become normalized. Medicines are used regularly as a form of biomedical treatment. This is definitely true when it comes to sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are meant to help people sleep, which in turn should provide them with the energy they need to make it through the day. However, ingesting the pills can result in many serious health issues mood changes, worsening depression, and suicidal thoughts. The part you took out of the Pill Poppers video that says if the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, or side effects, then people should reconsider taking the pill. However, some people don’t think about that, they just want results no matter what the cost. I think the media has played a huge role in the growing role of medications in biomedicalization.

  3. I thought your take one the advertisement was pretty spot on. Usually with commercials for pills and medicines the side effects are read off extremely fast and printed in tiny font. When you said that seventy-five percent of the commercial was devoted to the problems that go along with taking the pill, I thought that would be an overstatement. I was wrong. After giving a brief description of the positives that go along with the pill, the narrator of the commercial goes on to describe the conditions of the pill and the side effects. However, while the negatives are being listed off the woman in the commercial who was once miserable due to a lack of sleep is now in a great mood. The drug company uses that to distract the viewer from the information they are obligated to tell. The commercial also seems to hint that without the pill you won’t be able to get the proper amount of sleep and thus not feel tired all day.

    Another statistic from your blog that I found kind of startling is that between thirty and fifty percent of people use sleeping pills. That is an amazing statistic. Personally I have never used a sleeping pill, but I do know people who have on a regular basis. I feel that now in our culture taking pills and medications to solve any problem we face in life has become normalized. Medicines are used regularly as a form of biomedical treatment. This is definitely true when it comes to sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are meant to help people sleep, which in turn should provide them with the energy they need to make it through the day. However, ingesting the pills can result in many serious health issues mood changes, worsening depression, and suicidal thoughts. The part you took out of the Pill Poppers video that says if the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, or side effects, then people should reconsider taking the pill. However, some people don’t think about that, they just want results no matter what the cost. I think the media has played a huge role in the growing role of medications in biomedicalization.

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