Vol 8 No 1 (2016)

What impact does the pharmaceutical industry have on the medical definition of depression?

Stephanie Brunner
Published April 21, 2016


The pharmaceutical industry is instrumental in advising the medical community as well as the general populace about medications that can alleviate or cure symptoms associated with mental illness. What is unclear is how much impact the pharmaceutical industry has in defining what mental illness is or, more particularly, what constitutes depression and what treatment should be prescribed. It is being postulated that the biological model is taking hold (partly due to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This emphasizes the biological aspect of depression rather than placing an emphasis on environmental issues (i.e., problems in living), hence, reducing knowledge pools into two distinct dichotomies (biological and psychological). The increased emphasis on the biological model appears to be in direct correlation with how emotions are being medicalized, ultimately impacting the rate of psychotropic therapy, which positively impacts the fiscal success of the pharmaceutical industry.