According to lecture medicalization is defined as the control over bodies and behaviors through medical interventions. We learned from the material this week that one of the biggest achievements in medicine was the creation of antibiotics that became symbolic of lab sciences. They were referred to as “magic bullets” and were supposed to attack a disease and improve the health of a patient. The mass media helped in making this medical discovery accepted in the culture and reinforced the role of scientists as the ones who created the miraculous technology. Doctors also became the people who were believed to hold the power to identify someone as sick, healthy, etc. This resulted from Americans believing that medicine can solve our social problems. Hence, in order to maintain certain social values, medicalization became a way to justify the separation of deviant bodies. Quoting from lecture “it gave people an explanation for their behaviors and a biomedical solution to their problems.” This is why alcoholism, for example, is now defined as a medical condition. Medicalization changed to a biomedical perspective as technologies in medicine advanced and gave hope to improve the daily lives of people dealing with a condition. Biomedicalization is defined as the enhancement of bodies and behaviors through medical interventions. Once again mass media and the commercialization of biomedicine, for instance the case of pharmaceuticals, gave people a way to solve their individual issues. Now biomedicine is believed to enhance individuals or to make bodies as efficient as biologically possible. I believe ADHD is a great example of a condition that is very heavily biomedicalized in our society. The condition can affect people of all ages that have a difficult time focusing on daily activities and concentrating which can have an impact on memory. It is believed to be more prominent in children but adults can also experience ADHD. Biomedicine has allowed for the inventions of many drugs that are supposed to help with the condition. According to the film “Pill Poppers,” medications such as Ritalin was targeted towards people with ADHD symptoms and results showed it was affective in improving concentration. In several studies, the drug was also given to people who were not diagnosed with ADHD to see what affects it would have. Results also demonstrated an improvement in memory and concentration. In our culture and society, there is so much pressure to be successful and the best you can be. The stresses of life often overwhelm people and drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall provide a way to accomplish as much as possible in one given day. It is a good way to use medicine as way to fix social issues one might be facing and pills often provide the answers.


I found two advertisements for two different medications that are aimed at treating ADHD. I have provided the links below:


The first commercial is for a drug called Strattera and is targeting adults with ADD. A strategy used in the advertisement I noticed immediately is the music that is very dramatic. It automatically makes one question if they have the condition. It incorporates different flashes of movie scenes that are violent and shows them as if someone is experiencing the thoughts in their heads. The commercial also associates the condition with everyday life activities since it starts our in an office. It mentions that the drug can help with focusing better in both the work place and the home environment. The commercial ends with the side effects of the medication and suggests asking a physician about taking Strattera. The second advertisement is promoting Vyvanse, also a drug that is meant to aid in improving ADHD. It varies from the first commercial because it focuses more on the risks of the medication. It incorporates an MD who discuses the risks as well as gives advice on how to take the drug. Both commercials present medical information and include a doctor patient relationship. They also associate the condition with social roles that are present in our culture and offer the drugs to help with ADHD in order to improve daily life.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alexis Snyder says:

    When you mentioned in your post that medicine is a good way to fix social issues that a person is faced with, I think you really encompased what Ritalin has become for people in high stress, high work situtions. In order to describe the cultural, political, etc. forces that have turned ADHD in to an illness, I remembered this ad campaign that I believe entails many of these factors. Adam Levine, the lead singer of a very popular music group, Maroon 5, took part in an ad campaign that encouraged adults that had ADHD as a child to seek a doctor to find out if they still have it. Culturally, I found this to be very interesting. The campaign used a huge name in the pop culture industry, that is also a big success to try and reach these adults. What is more interesting is that the ad is sponsored by Shire, a company who provides treatments in ADHD, as well as several other illnesses according to there website. It would definitely be in their economic benefit if they “helped” all these adults troubled with ADHD. The website the ad tells you to go to is, also sponsored by Shire. The main item on the website is a quiz to determine if you should seek a doctor about possibly having ADHD. I took the quiz, having no symptoms of ADHD as a child and was given the score of “ADHD may be likely” and that I should definitely seek a doctor. This ad is an excellent example on what Conrad had discussed about diagnoses being promoted by their sufferers. It used the history, the idea that if you had ADHD as a kid, then you probably still have it. And hey, if a handsome success like Adam Levine can admit it, why can’t you?

    Hunter, Christy. “ADHD Awareness Campaigns May Increase Stimulant Use On Campus,” The Exponent, January 25, 2012. Accessed August 3, 2013.

    Shire. “About Us”. Accessed August 3, 2013.

    Everyday Health. “Quiz: Could You Have Adult ADHD?”. Accessed August 3, 2013.

  2. Dan Wright says:

    You are right; the first commercial has a very dramatic advertising strategy. It flashes violent scenes with loud music to make the viewer uncomfortable. Then suddenly it switches to classical music that is continuous and flowing while switching the actress from being unprepared and embarrassed at work to having a fulfilling home life. The second commercial takes the more simple approach and tries to tell the viewer that their medication is the easy and only choice. Today, ADD and ADHD seem to be more prevalent and more disabling. This may be because as technologies increase, so too does the speed of information transaction both in the work place and in school. So as we are continually forced to work and learn faster and multi task more, more people may notice an inadequate level of focus. These cultural changes as well as medical advances and better understanding and wielding of pharmaceuticals may be the cause of more people being treated for these illnesses. Other than that, possible economic forces could include those advertising techniques we learned in lecture where pharmaceutical companies gather more and more patients and customers by specific targeting, empowering and convincing people to think they have this illness and need to buy their medicine.

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