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Medicated bodies: Mental distress, social media and affect

By Ian M. Tucker and Lewis Goodings

Abstract

Social media are increasingly being recruited into care practices in mental health. This paper analyses how a major new mental health social media site (www.elefriends.org.uk) is used when trying to manage the impact of psychiatric medication on the body. Drawing on Henri Bergson's concept of affection, analysis shows that Elefriends is used at particular moments of reconfiguration (e.g. change in dosage and/or medication), periods of self-experimentation (when people tailor their regimen by altering prescriptions or ceasing medication) and when dealing with a present bodily concern (showing how members have a direct, immediate relationship with the site). In addition, analysis illustrates how users face having to structure their communication to try to avoid 'triggering' distress in others. The paper concludes by pointing to the need to focus on the multiple emerging relationships between bodies and social media in mental health due to the ways the latter are becoming increasingly prominent technologies through which to experience the body when distressed

Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:roar.uel.ac.uk:5239

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