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Influences on the Experience of Everyday Nerves

By David Healy


ABSTRACT Before 1980, most people experiencing common nervous problems and who sought medical help complained of anxiety and were treated for anxiety. Similar experiences increasingly led to complaints of or treatment for panic attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and to complaints of or treatment for mood disorders by the mid-1990s. Today, such patients seem once again increasingly likely to complain of and be treated for anxiety. This paper reviews a series of mechanisms whereby company marketing can both transform the perceptions of physicians and shape the experiences of those seeking treatment and the self-understanding of those not in treatment. These include the standard ploys of company sales departments to increase demand for products, including celebrity endorsements, the sponsoring of educational events and a host of reminders. The portfolio of marketing manoeuvres has grown, though, by translating educational events and celebrity events into the arena of scientific research: clinical trials have increasingly become part of the marketing of disorders and their treatments; ghost-written scientific papers are authored by celebrity researchers. The portfolio of marketing manoeuvres has also grown to encompass new ways of creating fashion through medical activism, by setting up patient groups and disease awareness campaigns. The result is a transformation and growth in disorders tailor-made to fit ever more visible drugs

Topics: antidepressants, depression, ghost-writing, globalization, marketing, Shaping the Intimate
Year: 2011
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