In Gary Greenberg's Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease, he takes an in depth look at the history behind depression, antidepressants, and how we have come to recognize and accept depression as a biochemical disease. When analyzing this book we can see that depression itself, whether it be a disease that is biochemically manifested or not, is deeply integrated into our society in a variety of ways as many aspects of society associated with depression have specific functions that are integral for society to function properly as a whole.
Gary Greenberg is himself a psychologist who practices in Connecticut and has dealt with depression many times over his lifetime. In his book he gives some very chilling facts about depression and its impact on our society. He states that in recent years the numbers of diagnoses of depression and prescriptions for antidepressants have sky rocked to the point where there has become an epidemic of depression (Greenberg 2011). Depression is so prevalent nowadays that it is being called “the common cold of mental illness” and is “the leading cause of disability” (Greenberg 2011:10)
During Greenberg's chapter “The Magnificence of Normal”, he touches on what it means to be normal in our society and how we often have idealistic expectations for ourselves (Greenberg 2011). This relates to Allan Horwitz's idea of the normative approach to defining normality. He states that “the normative approach defines what is normal by assuming that normality stems from conforming to some ideal or standard” (Horwitz 2008:365) A key aspect of the normative approach is that normal is culturally based (Horwitz 2008:365) Regarding the culture of the U.S., it can be argu...
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