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Functioning Numbness Instead of Feelings as a Direction : Young Adults’ Experiences of Antidepressant Use

Sandell, Kerstin LU and Bornäs, Hanna (2017) In Sociology 3(51). p.543-558
Abstract
In this article we explore, through in-depth interviews, young adults’ experiences of depression and antidepressant use in contemporary neoliberal society. We show that medication initially brings relief and an ability to function. However, in the longer perspective the dominating experience of antidepressants is emotional numbness. We suggest that this functioning yet numb subject is well suited to neoliberal demands, where the informants respond to outer demands without challenging them. Inspired by Chantal Mouffe we suggest that depression as a diagnosis is depoliticising, and with Ian Craib, we can see a denial of disappointment that surfaces in how depression is related to contemporary society. As a possible form of resistance we... (More)
In this article we explore, through in-depth interviews, young adults’ experiences of depression and antidepressant use in contemporary neoliberal society. We show that medication initially brings relief and an ability to function. However, in the longer perspective the dominating experience of antidepressants is emotional numbness. We suggest that this functioning yet numb subject is well suited to neoliberal demands, where the informants respond to outer demands without challenging them. Inspired by Chantal Mouffe we suggest that depression as a diagnosis is depoliticising, and with Ian Craib, we can see a denial of disappointment that surfaces in how depression is related to contemporary society. As a possible form of resistance we identify the strong positive emphasis on emotions as giving direction, motivating the interviewees to stop medicating. Still, we see a tension between functioning – expected from adults – and emotionality – linked to adolescence as a phase that should pass. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
antidepressants, depression, experiences, individualisation, neoliberal, post-political, Sweden, young adults
in
Sociology
volume
3
issue
51
pages
16 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85019077944
  • wos:000400903400003
ISSN
0038-0385
DOI
10.1177/0038038515591947
project
After the success with the new generation antidepressants: Experiences, practices, discourses and changes in the self.
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
771fc06c-9a25-4e76-81d7-7b1af8302606 (old id 8253630)
date added to LUP
2015-12-03 16:05:02
date last changed
2018-01-07 03:16:25
@article{771fc06c-9a25-4e76-81d7-7b1af8302606,
  abstract     = {In this article we explore, through in-depth interviews, young adults’ experiences of depression and antidepressant use in contemporary neoliberal society. We show that medication initially brings relief and an ability to function. However, in the longer perspective the dominating experience of antidepressants is emotional numbness. We suggest that this functioning yet numb subject is well suited to neoliberal demands, where the informants respond to outer demands without challenging them. Inspired by Chantal Mouffe we suggest that depression as a diagnosis is depoliticising, and with Ian Craib, we can see a denial of disappointment that surfaces in how depression is related to contemporary society. As a possible form of resistance we identify the strong positive emphasis on emotions as giving direction, motivating the interviewees to stop medicating. Still, we see a tension between functioning – expected from adults – and emotionality – linked to adolescence as a phase that should pass.},
  author       = {Sandell, Kerstin and Bornäs, Hanna},
  issn         = {0038-0385},
  keyword      = {antidepressants,depression,experiences,individualisation,neoliberal,post-political,Sweden,young adults},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {51},
  pages        = {543--558},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Sociology},
  title        = {Functioning Numbness Instead of Feelings as a Direction : Young Adults’ Experiences of Antidepressant Use},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038515591947},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2017},
}