Within the context of medicalization, the role of medications in American society is extremely affected. Always, as time goes on, new conditions, diseases, viruses, and disorders are discovered inside the human population.  Some sicknesses come from passing germs from one member of the human population to another and some sicknesses come from members of the animal population passing germs to humans. As these varying health conditions arise, we seek to treat them at least and cure them, ultimately.  The act in which we are defining each sickness as it’s own diagnosis and condition, then proceeding to treat it accordingly with the proper care and course is the biomedicalization of our society. But, with assessing the human body and it’s healthy functions, we’ve created a situation where our cures for the body may also end up doing harm to it, albeit, the harm may be lesser or different than the harm of the larger sickness, but if the cure directly causes a new and separate harm, that must be addressed with a new and separate treatment relief course, is it truly a cure and what does that say about the ethics of medicine in our culture? In western culture, there are varying images of what people would say depicts a healthy lifestyle and/or a healthy body.  At times, medicalization can appeal to a society’s ideal of what a healthy body and life look like so as to gain a culture of trust and security around the belief that medicines are created for doing good to the body and not bad, which can lead the public ignorantly into a lab-rat/guinea pig/tester-type circumstance.  Our success in medicine and our desperation to use medicine in it’s complete and thorough entirety shows that as a society, wellbeing and success are partly defined by one’s quality of life and partly by the length of one’s life.


A common condition we have in western society is depression/major depression in adults and children, alike, and Abilify is one of the most frequently prescribed medications for depression. In the commercial, the social roles show that we have a tendency to look at the doctor type as being male and for the dichotomy the patient was a female; gender roles plat a part in the delivery and pitch of new medicines when introduced to population. The commercial was also animated, that could indicate our cultural values and ideologies do not process the idea of a mental sickness or a disease of the mind without dumbing down the delivery of the struggle. The robe in the commercial that represented depression was blue, that indicates that our cultural associates blue with being sad or being down. The advertising strategy behind this medicine was to make it seem like a virtually harmless, quick fix, a simple and colorful delivery of something to cure a complicated disease.

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  1. christopher reed says:

    I think mental illness has been a greatly medicalized area of health over the past few decades mainly because are brains are terribly mysterious organs and we still know very little about them. The Conrad article talked a lot about the contraction of medicalization in areas seen as “serious” mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and the demedicalization of conditions previously thought to be mental illnesses, such as homosexuality. But I believe that the symptoms recognized by doctors as depression have expanded to include those of many individuals. This is not without reason. When you live in a country where school shootings seem to happen every month, doctors may begin to overanalyze patients they examine. The drug market for this illness is a pretty large one, I’d imagine, so there is also an economic incentive. However, encouraging doctors to prescribe mind-altering, possibly addictive substances can be a health risk in it’s own. I believe that our health system certainly should pay closer attention to the mental health of our citizens, but it should be done more responsibly. I am an advocate of therapy before prescriptions in most cases involving this type of condition, however that is far more expensive than a bottle of pills.

    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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