In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2006 / 14 Menachem-Av, 5766

When normal is ‘sick’

By Lenore Skenazy

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Woke up this morning feeling chipper as Flipper, till I noticed a little quiz in an ad in Oprah magazine.

"Has there ever been a time when you were so irritable that you shouted at people?" "When you had much more energy than usual?" "When you were much more interested in sex than usual?"

Uh...so what if there was?

"It could be bipolar disorder," announced the ad.

I might be bipolar? Just because I shouted at a taxi yesterday and woke up thinking frisky thoughts about Vince Vaughn?

Well, the ad didn't go quite that far. But it did show snapshots of a woman yelling into the phone (done that), buying things she didn't need (like my new automatic nut cracker?) and feeling "irritable" (I don't even like nuts!), until the whole thing added up to pretty much my average bad day — and probably yours, too. Nonetheless, anyone recognizing herself in any of these scenarios was urged to bring this ad to her doctor in order to, "discuss your symptoms."

So now it's a symptom of mental illness if you've ever felt angry, peppy or horny? That means every single one of us is sick — the drug companies' fondest dream.

Drug sales, of course, are the impetus behind these ads. The drug industry always needs more customers, but customers don't materialize until they're sick. That means the industry has to convince them that they are. One way to do this is to take the ordinary vicissitudes of life — a restless leg, a bout of insomnia, a high patch or a low one — and turn them into illnesses. Skeptics have even coined a word for this practice: "disease mongering."

And rest assured, for any disease the drug companies bother to monger, there is always a name brand pill.

Now, I'm actually quite grateful that big pharma has come up with the drugs that soothe so many souls. I even believe that the $4 billion it spends on advertising does some good, by talking about taboo topics like depression and encouraging sufferers to seek help.

But enough is enough.

In the nine years since the drug industry has been allowed to advertise directly to consumers, its message has become part of the fabric of American life, selling us on a dream of perfection. It is to the psyche what the beauty biz is to the body: a shameless promoter of self-doubt. If you're not as pretty as Penelope Cruz, the ads tell us, you'd better buy some makeup now. And if you find yourself yelling, it's time to buy bipolar pills now.

But we are humans. And humans — even Penelope (even Vince!) — will never be perfect, nor were they meant to be.

There's only one word for the ads that try to make us feel abnormal about being normal:


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JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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