Week 5: Activity Post Prompt

Title: Pick a condition that you feel is heavily medicalized or biomedicalized in our society (e.g. “Obesity”)

Body: (300 words)

  • Describe the role of medications in American society in the contexts of medicalization and biomedicalization? What does it say about our cultural values and ideologies about health, wellbeing and success? Use examples from the readings and film.
  • Find a link to an advertisement for a medication that treats this condition and include it in your post
  • Using my birth control lecture as an example, identify the following elements in your advertisement:

o   Cultural values and ideologies
o   Social Roles
o   Presentation of medical information
o   Doctor patient interactions
o   Other advertising strategies

Comment: (200 words)

  • Pick a post with a different condition and look at the advertisement they are analyzing
  • Describe the cultural, political, economic, historical, etc. forces that now re-frame this condition as an “illness” that requires biomedical intervention? Refer to the Conrad article for ideas on how to explain this.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Josh Williams says:

    Depression is more common in the U.S. than many other countries and is recognized widely as a legitimate illness in our country. Culturally it is expected that we should be happy, productive members of society. Depression is characterized as long term sadness and lack of motivation to participate in daily activities along with many other symptoms that vary based on the individual. Our culture sees sadness in a negative light and implies that if someone is sad for too long that they must be ill because it is not normal, while many other cultures do not see depression as an illness they simply see it as a person feeling sad. The concept of depression being an illness in our country also comes from an economical stand point. If depression is characterized as an illness, it can be treated, which costs money and contributes to medical economic growth. Also, now that this condition has been characterized as an illness by many physicians it has a psychological factor at play as well. Many people think that if they are sad for too long, they aren’t meeting the norm, and if they aren’t meeting the norm they must be sick. This causes people to seek treatment and gives long term sadness an illness category in our society.

  2. Amber Roberts says:

    Menopause is a completely normal part of getting older and it is inevitable that all women will experience it in their later years of life. As we get older our bodies will change and although it is not an easy period, women are able to get through it and carry on after. However, because menopause is associated with symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats it has a negative connotation and society sees it as an ‘illness.’ Though these symptoms are out of the norm for the human body, it is expected and normal for women to experience them. But society tends to look past this and see menopause as an illness so women seek to find ways to ease the burden of menopause and alleviate the symptoms. Women know that menopause is inevitable and a normal part of life but that doesn’t stop them from seeking ways to ‘overcome’ their ‘illness.’ Women often times use drugs that are not good for them in the long run to alleviate their symptoms because they believe that they need something to treat their perceived illness. Society has given women the idea that there is something wrong with them when they experience menopause, so women feel the need to ‘fix’ it and get back to normal, instead of accepting that it’s a natural process and simply part of life.

    Conrad, Peter, and Deborah Potter. “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” Social Problems 47, no. 4 (November 2000): 559-582.

  3. Rolando Barajas says:

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a great understanding of the over-medication of our pill driven society. Historically males have been seen as the conquerors of life; they fought in wars, lead armies, they had to be well educated, and finally had to be the solid foundation for their families. Thus when men suffer from erectile dysfunction they face a harsh social stigma. Forcing this social idea that when males suffer from said illness it needs to be corrected right away or else they would be inadequate males. But many times it’s a normal phenomenon that can be caused by stress but once they begin to suffer from the illness they are further emasculated and have more stress leading to a cycle of negative behavior (due to social standards) that influences their health. Leading to seeking a desperate way of becoming healthy again by any means, Although in my opinion it gets to a point that when they may have one incidence of ED they fall victim to this cycle and due to media and force males to seek out medication right away because “Media, including TV, popular literature, and now the Internet, spread the word quickly about illnesses and treatment. This popularization of symptoms and diagnoses can create new “markets” for disorders and empower previously unidentified sufferers to seek treatment as new or expanded medical explanations become popularly available.” (Conrad). Thus leading to ads of men not having to worry about ED because there is a medication for them if they ever experience a problem, thus focusing too much on the biomedical aspect of the illness and shadowing the psychological aspect of the illness. Only furthering the profits of pharmaceuticals companies and expanding their market.

    Source: Conrad, Peter, and Deborah Potter. “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” November 2000, Social Problems 47, no. 4

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