Date of Award

4-2003

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD, was first recognized in 1994, and is generally attributed to an imbalance in the neurotransmitters triggered by the hormonal flux of menstruation. PMDD is treated with Sarafem, a drug made up of the exact chemical compound as found in Prozac—an anti-depressant. This thesis outlines PMDD and its treatment to foreground the hegemony sustained in biomedicine whereby women are literally and figuratively reduced to malfunctioning biology. A comparison between clinical and lay literature reveals a major belief that women with PMDD first need to adjust their personalities prior to their condition improving. PMDD has become moralized, with women are viewed as burdens upon their families and the medical community. As a result, the treatment is designed not to "cure" the disorder, but rather, to quiet the women. Second, an analysis of PMDD unveils the increasingly intimate relationship between biomedicine and the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., and exposes how illness and profit are inexorably linked.

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