The use of medications in the U.S. has become quite the norm among our society. Through the advertisements shown by pharmaceutical companies, it seems as though there is a medication for nearly anything. These medications have become an easy fix for those that may be experiencing something small like a headache, or much larger like arthritis. What many Americans have failed to remember is that there are alternate ways to heal the body rather than simply masking the pain and symptoms with medication. Eating healthy and staying fit is one way that a person can not only avoid getting any of the illnesses associated with poor diet and lack of exercise, but it can also undo any damage from the past. For example, depression is a highly medicated illness in the U.S. Being overweight and unhealthy is one major cause of depression, which is exactly how eating better and being more active can help naturally fix this problem as opposed to taking medicine to mask the symptoms. In the article “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD” Conrad and Potter stated that “the American public’s tolerance for mild symptoms and benign problems has decreased, which may be leading to a further medicalization of ills.” This statement basically says that people are becoming more and more sensitive to mild symptoms which means that, rather than seeking natural treatment, they will be more likely to seek out medications to treat the symptoms at earlier stages of an illness. At this rate, the use of medication will be the only way people in the U.S. treat their symptoms rather than bettering their lives in order to eliminate the problem altogether. I realize that there are many illnesses and sickness that require medication but it’s the one’s that can be easily fixed, yet are instead medicated for, that will push this country towards complete medicalization.

Abilify Commercial

The commercial that I included is an advertisement for a frequently prescribed depression medication called Abilify. Throughout the commercial, I noticed a number of strategies that the creator used to portray the information during the advertisement. One example of this is the body language the character used. The woman looks sad and overwhelmed near the beginning of the commercial in order to make her depression visually obvious to viewers. Throughout most of the commercial the woman makes angry facial expressions towards the hole in the ground that is supposed to represent depression. Near the end, a doctor explains the use of Abilify to the woman where her facial expression becomes noticeably happier with this information. Through the rest of the commercial she walks with her head held high and a smile on her face after she begins taking the medication. As far as the doctor patient interactions, the animated doctor gave the appearance of concern while the patient went over her symptoms and appeared both angry and sad about her depression. They both perked up when the doctor told her about Abilify and how it could treat her depression. Through this doctor patient interaction, the medical information was relayed to the people watching the commercial. While the doctor appeared to be telling the woman the benefits and risks of the medication, the actual purpose for this scene was to be able to tell this information to the people watching. This commercial also expressed specific cultural values and ideologies such as a person not being able to be happy, make others around them happy, or enjoy life at all when they have depression. It also shows that the doctor is an important part of her life since he is the only one that can treat her depression and make her feel happy again.

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  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.

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