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Depression Promotion in Consumer Advocacy: Sick Brains, Scrutinized Behavior, and Self-Healing
Unformatted Document Text:  1 PROMOTING DEPRESSION IN CONSUMER ADVOCACY: SICK BRAINS, SCRUTINIZED BEHAVIOR AND SELF-HEALING “The choice is mine. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is and not force everything to adjust to my own desires. I will accept my family, my friends, my business, my circumstances as they come”. EmotionsAnonymous.Org “The self that is liberated is obliged to live its life tied to the project of its own identity”. Nicholas Rose 1990, p.24 Depression, which was an unusual diagnosis 35 years ago, has become the most prevalent diagnosis in the United States and antidepressants the primary recovery mechanism employed in its treatment. The hegemonic discourses and powerful industries of biopsychiatry, which targets the body as the cause of mental illness, including depression, 1 have entrenched the depression script in popular and consumer culture. While visual technologies and blood and gene testing cannot confirm depression, it is diagnosed simply according behavioral/mood distresses that are observed by experts or cited by subjects. Hence it has become common sense knowledge that behavioral/mood distress indicates an ill, depressed brain. With the expanding list of depression criteria over the past decade, we now witness the diagnosis of an increasingly numerous, broad selection of depressive “symptoms” as certifiable “affective” (mood) disorders. However, the complex intermingling and exchange among depression scripts in recovery industries have also created conditions that aid the cultural popularity of depression. Indeed, scholars have qualified North American culture as biomaterialist, enterprise-dominated, and even outright hysterical, causing 1 I use the term biopsychiatry to refer to the brand of psychiatry, increasingly popular since the overthrow of psychoanalysis in the 1950’s, that confines mental illness cause to biology and/or genes, and in recent years has increasingly created diagnoses for common mood or affective distresses. At times, I transpose the term neuropsychiatry with biopsychiatry to illustrate that each tends to blame the body as cause, but cites evidence of disorder in personal behavior. I also transpose the terms behavioral distresses and mood/affective distress, because, again, the brain or biochemicals are blamed as dysfunctional while the evidence of disorder again lays essentially in common behavioral distresses such as anxiety, hopelessness, fear or anger. Scientists admit that today there remains no certifiable proof (i.e. from brain scans or the testing of blood or genes that the body or brain indeed causes depression. Biopsychiatry’s insistence that brain and biochemical dysfunction can, however, be assuaged from a broad range of so-called dysfunctional behaviors is a dubious claim. By transposing these terms, I am reiterating this problematic.

Authors: Gardner, Paula.
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1
PROMOTING DEPRESSION IN CONSUMER ADVOCACY:
SICK BRAINS, SCRUTINIZED BEHAVIOR AND SELF-HEALING
“The choice is mine. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is
and not force everything to adjust to my own desires. I will accept my
family, my friends, my business, my circumstances as they come”.
EmotionsAnonymous.Org
“The self that is liberated is obliged to live its life tied to the project of
its own identity”.
Nicholas Rose 1990, p.24
Depression, which was an unusual diagnosis 35 years ago, has become the most prevalent
diagnosis in the United States and antidepressants the primary recovery mechanism employed in its
treatment. The hegemonic discourses and powerful industries of biopsychiatry, which targets the body as
the cause of mental illness, including depression,
1
have entrenched the depression script in popular and
consumer culture. While visual technologies and blood and gene testing cannot confirm depression, it is
diagnosed simply according behavioral/mood distresses that are observed by experts or cited by subjects.
Hence it has become common sense knowledge that behavioral/mood distress indicates an ill, depressed
brain. With the expanding list of depression criteria over the past decade, we now witness the diagnosis of
an increasingly numerous, broad selection of depressive “symptoms” as certifiable “affective” (mood)
disorders.
However, the complex intermingling and exchange among depression scripts in recovery industries
have also created conditions that aid the cultural popularity of depression. Indeed, scholars have qualified
North American culture as biomaterialist, enterprise-dominated, and even outright hysterical, causing
1
I use the term biopsychiatry to refer to the brand of psychiatry, increasingly popular since the overthrow
of psychoanalysis in the 1950’s, that confines mental illness cause to biology and/or genes, and in recent
years has increasingly created diagnoses for common mood or affective distresses. At times, I transpose the
term neuropsychiatry with biopsychiatry to illustrate that each tends to blame the body as cause, but cites
evidence of disorder in personal behavior. I also transpose the terms behavioral distresses and
mood/affective distress, because, again, the brain or biochemicals are blamed as dysfunctional while the
evidence of disorder again lays essentially in common behavioral distresses such as anxiety, hopelessness,
fear or anger. Scientists admit that today there remains no certifiable proof (i.e. from brain scans or the
testing of blood or genes that the body or brain indeed causes depression. Biopsychiatry’s insistence that
brain and biochemical dysfunction can, however, be assuaged from a broad range of so-called dysfunctional
behaviors is a dubious claim. By transposing these terms, I am reiterating this problematic.


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