Writing out prescriptions: hyper-realism and the chemical regulation of mood

Bleakley, Alan and Jolly, Margaretta (2012) Writing out prescriptions: hyper-realism and the chemical regulation of mood. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 17 (5). pp. 779-790. ISSN 1382-4996

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Abstract

Although many patients resist prescriptions for mood disorders and many doctors are open to alternative therapies, this paper explores the powerful ideological framework that normalises prescription dependency as part of everyday life in America and, arguably, Britain as well. Using a literary critical methodology, we read novels by American hyper-realists such as Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace, and Rick Moody as symptomatic of prescription culture. Though we argue that these writers brilliantly understand the dangers of mood-medication, they do not escape its logic, rather, writing it out at the same time they write against it. Indeed, we propose that their novels bear ironic similarities to medical texts such as The British National Formulary, usually seen as a neutral handbook for doctors guidance. We explicate their method as that of deconstruction, which, in contrast to more obvious critiques of chemical treatment, such as therapy, neither analyses nor cures. Though this method underplays the possibility of pragmatic resistance exemplified by alternative formularies such as the feminist health manual, Our Bodies, Ourselves, we argue that its very ambiguity uniquely exposes the complex determinisms associated with prescribed medication. We thus propose the value of introducing deconstructive literature to healthcare contexts

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Centre for Community Engagement
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R702 Medicine and the humanities. Medicine and disease in relation to history, literature, etc.
Depositing User: Margaretta Jolly
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2012 13:55
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2012 13:55
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18139
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