The role of medication in American society has shifted from medicalization to biomedicalization and I think that this shift is due to the amount of mass media that we are exposed to today. Years ago we were only focused on staying healthy and treating illness, but today the media exposes us to a new modern age of medicine and convinces us that there is always room for improvement. The lecture from this week discusses how when flipping through magazines we are bombarded by ads for products that will improve certain aspects of our lives. We see ads for pills that will make us happier and we see ads for surgeries that will make us more physically attractive. Years ago none of these medications or procedures even existed, but today they are seen as treatments that are necessary to better our lives and make us happier.

This is the original advertisement for Zoloft, a medication that is used to treat depression. It features the patient suffering from depression as a round ball traveling with a raincloud over its head and describes them as feeling lonely, anxious, and hopeless and unable to enjoy activities that they used to. However, once prescribed Zoloft, the sun comes back our and round ball becomes happy and bouncy again, implying that Zoloft will turn it all around and bring you happiness. Though the cause is unknown, the commercial also goes on to show an animation of the chemical imbalance that may be related to depression and says that only your doctors can diagnose depression and goes on to explain some of the symptoms. Then finally the commercial wraps up with saying “When you know more about what’s wrong, you can help make it right.” This quote implies that having depression means that there is something wrong with you, and that Zoloft can help fix it. I think that this quote alone is an advertising strategy because it convinces patients that there is something wrong with them and that they NEED to try Zoloft to feel better.

YouTube. “Original Zoloft Commercial.” YouTube. (accessed August 1, 2014).

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  1. Danielle Boore says:

    After watching this advertisement and reading this post I think Amber sums it up perfectly at the end. This advertisement makes you believe something is wrong with you and the only way to fix it is through medication, specifically Zoloft. The advertisement makes it seem like once you take Zoloft all of your problems disappear and there’s not a worry in the world. In today’s society we want everything fixed as quickly and as easily as possible. There is pretty much no easier way to cure an illness than taking a pill. In earlier times this was not an option. Either someone would try to fix the problem in their life that is causing them to feel sad by themselves or go seek therapy and actually resolve the problem, not just make it go away temporarily like a pill will do. Going to the store is a lot cheaper and more comfortable for a majority of people, compared to going to see a counselor and discussing your feelings. Many people now have a hard time discussing their feelings to anyone if they cannot hide behind a screen of some sort, let alone someone you barely know. Also with social media now most of the time people only broadcast when they are out doing something fun. If you are sitting at home constantly seeing this you are going to start to feel sad and convince yourself something is wrong with you. It’s all of the little things that add up to make you believe you have an illness if you are not happy all of the time.

    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.

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