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Living the neurochemical self? : Experiences after the success of the SSRIs

Författare:
  • Kerstin Sandell
Publiceringsår: 2016-08-28
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 130-148
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory
Volym: 17
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

This is an exploration, in dialogue with Nikolas Rose’s
conceptualization of the neurochemical self, of how people taking
antidepressants through in-depth interviews make sense of their
experiences of using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The
neurochemical self, according to Rose, is a self understood as
regulated by neurochemical processes, where how we feel is
mapped onto the body, more precisely the brain. The findings
suggest that one of Rose’s points – that the deep inner self
informed by psychoanalysis is gone – has some bearing. However,
the plasticity of the biological that Rose argues accompanies a
neurochemical understanding that cannot be traced; rather, the
understanding of depression is gravitating towards it being a
biological, constitutional malfunctioning. Adding to this, even
though the users experienced that the pills worked, their
understandings bore no relation to the wider neurochemical
framework and were riddled with uncertainty. As a conclusion it is
suggested that depression is delinked from explanation, and
exists in a void abandoned to containment by medicine, although
not that effectively treated. In this, the only way to become a
functioning subject once again seems to be to go on pills.
This is an exploration, in dialogue with Nikolas Rose’s conceptualization of the neurochemical self, of how people taking antidepressants through in-depth interviews make sense of their experiences of using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The
neurochemical self, according to Rose, is a self understood as regulated by neurochemical processes, where how we feel is mapped onto the body, more precisely the brain. The findings suggest that one of Rose’s points – that the deep inner self
informed by psychoanalysis is gone – has some bearing. However, the plasticity of the biological that Rose argues accompanies a neurochemical understanding that cannot be traced; rather, the understanding of depression is gravitating towards it being a
biological, constitutional malfunctioning. Adding to this, even though the users experienced that the pills worked, their understandings bore no relation to the wider neurochemical framework and were riddled with uncertainty. As a conclusion it is
suggested that depression is delinked from explanation, and exists in a void abandoned to containment by medicine, although not that effectively treated. In this, the only way to become a functioning subject once again seems to be to go on pills.

Keywords

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Antidepressant use; experiences; neurochemical self; depression; Nikolas Rose; SSRI

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1600-910X
Kerstin Sandell portrait
E-post: kerstin [dot] sandell [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se

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