Depression is considered a mental illness that often inhibits the daily activities of some poeple. Symptoms of depression include irritable mood most of the time, loss of enjoyment in usual pastimes , difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and issues with concentration. Not being to contribute due to an illness makes one look for a possible solution. In US culture the first solution is often medication. But how often is medication really the best solution? Medication is more easily justified to insurance companies versus expensive therapy sessions which may allow people to discuss possible roots of the problem. We are taught as children to get along with one another bit those with depression sometimes find that they do not enjoy time with others. If there is a medication that you could take to help you in social situations giving an extra boost of confidence that the sufferers need. Depression can have a negative effect of the economy because if you do not find joy in your previous activities then you are not going to continue spending money in sector. For example say you were an avid painter you may decrease the amount of paints you buy. The use of medication adds money into pharmaceutical sector either by the patient directly or insurance coverage.

The commercial I watched was for Abilify an antidepressant that has been placed on the market in recent years.
The ad discusses the experiences that the main character experienced with depression. How he felt withdrawn from his friends and colleagues and friends. This decreased his quality of life. That is to say until he started taking abilify. Afterwards he became much more outgoing and interacting with others. This commercial did not show much of doctor patient interactions but other drug ads I have seen show the relationship as one that is very understanding and supportive. It was interesting to take a more critical look at the commercials that they have for medication advertisements especially towards the end when there is the long list of side effects.


8 thoughts on “Depression

  1. This commercial was primarily using the fact that antidepressants are used by numerous people but it was trying to also introduce the fact that these antidepressants are not always enough. This is why they came up with the drug Abilify. The name of the medicine almost sounds like the word amplify. I think that this medicine is made to amplify the symptoms that you are having, in turn, making users feel as though it “amplifies” the effectiveness.

    Medications in Western culture primarily focus on the symptoms that you are suffering from and medication is always used to cure it. Western culture does not really consider other things that need to be done as far as helping symptoms. I personally think that thinking positive and doing mind exercises such as meditating on a positive affirmation might decrease depression. I don’t think that western culture considers this.

    I think that depression is both objective and universal because some people think that you (human influence) are the cause of your own depression. Other people think that it is your circumstances or just genetic due to problems with depression. Depression is said to effect your wellbeing and success because it depression is left untreated, some people commit suicide, or wind up losing a job over its severity. Western culture believes that any time that your health effects daily activities in a negative way, you must be treated in some way, shape, or form.

  2. I do agree that depression takes you away from your original social standings and decreases the amount of money spent in some areas by these people. Many insurance companies are geared to finding the quickest way to “healing” so that they are not spending so much money on the individual. I think this is the driving force behind insurance companies to offer to pay for medication instead of something that would possibly eliminate cost in the future. I also agree with how we are bread to play with the other children in classes and if your social skills are lacking, teachers want to keep you in the same grade the next year even if your grades are high. I do feel as if life is always like a school, the popular children are what you are compared to when it comes to how to behave and dress and anything outside of those perimeters are considered an outcast. I do not think our culture truly recognizes that some people are just not social. I find myself not wanting to be surrounded by a sea of people at all times and am okay with being with just a few people watching a movie at home. We try to categorize trait that is not the characteristic of the majority into some sort of illness.

    I do think that medications take precedence in the health care arena because of how profitable it is. It is apart of our everyday lives through mass media advertisements and our easy access to medications without a prescription. It is the driving force behind our being able to medicate our selves. Our culture has trained us to believe that anything can be fixed with the help of a pill, even if it were never a problem at all. It has made us believe that you are never really happy if you are rich, you must be beautiful as well. You are not successful if you can not socialize well with peers. Our need for everything to be medicalized is clearly shown in the Medicalization of menstruation. How is it we take such a natural bodily process and turn it into an medical problem. We give it a medical name and make commercials about how it is not normal. We also made people who think differently feel obsolete because the majority of people do not think that same way. Taking pills is more of a normalcy than it is to not, even if nothing is wrong.

  3. I think you made a very nice analysis of the advertisement for Abilify. I would like to add something from another perspective, however. In your analysis you mentioned that economically the effects of depression would mean a decrease in activity, conversely I think that with the seeking of treatments and pharmaceuticals an increase in economic activity is likely. I think your statement that insurance companies prefer usage of prescription drugs over therapy sessions comes off as a little bit biased and also suggests that the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are working as one entity to make profit off of patients. I think that besides from the pharmaceutical industry, American society as a whole is to blame for the seeking of medications over therapy. Instant gratification is paramount in our society and I think this is why drugs such as Abilify are a more attractive option for a lot of individuals with depression. Therapy sessions can be emotionally exhaustive and more than this, they take a lot of time, versus simply taking a pill each day. Many people view therapy as a waste of time with which they could be doing something more productive such as working. This deviation from the “norm” as defined by Conrad, may be exploited by big industries in order to turn profit but I think that depression is a hard condition to deal with because of inherent ambiguities and the fact that it is a patient defined condition. When exactly does sadness become depression?

  4. I do agree with your analysis of the Abilify Ad. I did see that the main character shown was withdrawn from frineds but was able to be more outgoing after he took the medication and that they waited until the end to list the long list of side effects. I also noticed that you didn’t mention was the use of dark and grey colors before the use of the medication and many bright colors after the medication was taken to show how you might feel dark and gloomy now but after you take this drug you can see the world in all the bright colors again.
    I see the role of medications in America in the period of medicalization as way to heal yourself and cure illnesses. Now in the biomedicalization period, medications are used to fix problems you don’t like about yourself or to improve yourself in some way. Like when we take medication for weight loss to fix our waist line look better or when we take Viagra to improve our sex lives. I think this says our cultural values about health are tied to happiness and success. If we make ourselves extra than what we are we can be happier and more successful. This is how I think we view ourselves in the western world because our culture.

  5. After watching the ad for Abilify, I agree on most points with your analysis of the ad. The main thing I felt you missed was that it appears that Abilify is not meant to be taken on its own; it’s instead meant to supplement some other prescription anti-depressant. You also did not mention that actors were used in the ad, not actual users of Abilify. Other than that I agree with your analysis. The ad does not really show doctor-patient interaction and portrays Abilify is causing drastic changes in the patient’s personality.
    Medications play a very large role in American society and biomedicine. The primary treatment method of biomedicine involves medication. Culturally, our heavy use of medication says a lot about our views of health and wellbeing. Medication is often the quick-fix solution to many of our problems; rather than solve the cause we often simply treat the symptoms. For example, instead of making simple diet changes and exercising more many overweight individuals instead try to use diet-medication, so that they can lose weight without having to give up the lifestyle that caused them to be overweight in the first place. To make matters worse, profit-motivated companies have taken advantage of this quick-fix mentality and made the weight loss market worth 60.9 Billion in the U.S. alone. ( I also feel that our heavy use of medication for conditions like depression have made people feel like they are helpless to change themselves without the help of medication, and because of this many people who could likely get better over time without medication are instead medicated.

  6. The commercial for Abilify is a fairly standard antidepressant commercial. Danuelle was completely in her assessment of the commercial and the drug manufacturers portrayed it. The drug itself is a additive to antidepressant medication to amplify their effects, but something she did not consider was the color scheme and vocal tone in the commercial. At the beginning when the commercial is talking about how people may need to take Abilify, the colors are muted, with the people looking downcast and the peoples voices are somber. After the narrator starts talking about the side effects and it gives the impression of people having taken he drug, the colors are more vibrant, with the people smiling and has a more generally uplifted tone. Medicines in our society are used to heal or prevent illness, but they are also used to increase our quality of life. We expect to take a medicine and be almost instantly cured of whatever ails us, as well as having our lives improved just by simply taking that pill. I think that this expectation of instantly being cured tells a lot about our culture. We want all our problems to just go away and expect doctors to be able to do that since it is their specialty. It almost emphasizes that people in our culture are not self-reliant enough to help themselves and that if you have an illness, you are not normal.

  7. Depression definitely interferes with the ability to interact socially. Health Insurance providers are usually publicly traded companies and must perform “cost-effectively”. They certainly emphasize their bottom line very much. Insurance companies are used to repairing a problem. They are in the businesses of fixing what went wrong; they are not in the business of prevention. Your hurricane insurance does not build levies; it only bothers to fix the roof once one runs through. I am not going to go so far as to imply insurance companies are pushing drugs to consumers. Because many people go to their physician expecting a drug to be prescribed, physicians feel this too. Many people do not understand how to prevent illness. Anyways society itself doesn’t even know how to describe illness all the time either. Definitions changes all the time and new things spring up at the same rate. Besides describing a norm is very difficult especially when it comes to mental or behavioral “illnesses”.
    That is not to say there isn’t exceptional marketing in the drug industry. Big pharma is worth billions upon billions. We are the only country that allows direct to “consumer” advertising for drugs. Is it not time that we stop treating health and illness, life and death as a commodity or a style to be bought? The consumer metaphor only works in so many fields; you cannot apply it to everything and expect the best. It is the driving force behind our being able to medicate our selves. Our culture has engrained us with the impression that you can buy a solution to everything, who can blame us? Medicalization is changing how we treat our bodies as much as fashion changes what we wear.

  8. I agree with you that medication is preferred to therapy, especially by insurance companies. However, I do not think that this necessarily means that this is still the best way to deal with depression. Clinical depression is a disorder caused by a chemical and hormonal imbalance, trying to treat this with drugs just puts more chemicals into the persons body, which may or may not make it worse. I think therapy is better alternative, at least at first. If therapy doesn’t work than medications could be a great second option.

    Medication is a huge part of biomedicalization because medications are the main forms of healing within biomedicalization. I think that medication is so much more popular in western culture because t is much more of a quick fix. We as a society look for something simple outside of ourselves to make everything better, and a small pill that they take once a day is just that answer. We don’t have to worry about actually doing work to make ourselves better. It also shows us that health, in our culture, is something that can be purchased, with out work. I think it also speaks to our values on success, in that we celebrate quick fixes and expect success as something that can be easily obtained.

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