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Is It Time To Boycott Parade Magazine?
May 10, 2006
by Tony Zizza

This morning I woke up and realized for the first time in a very long time - I didn't have to go to work.


It's probably going to rain later. Need to get up and take the dog out to the trail. On the way home, three items to purchase. Gasoline, breakfast, and the Sunday newspaper. Wait. Here comes that pleasant thought again. I don't have to go work today. Great day to plow through the Sunday newspaper with my dog and a hot pot of coffee.

Oh no. Not again. You've got to be kidding me!

Not cool.

I'm not worried about the black ink all over my hands from the Sunday newspaper. I am absolutely outraged that once again Parade magazine is helping pharmaceutical companies sell depression and its drugs. I'm not talking about small to medium sized advertisements here.

Parade magazine and big pharma giant AstraZeneca have teamed up to sell us this three page advertisement for depression and bipolar disorder, the latest get out of jail card:

"Sometimes there is another side to depression."

On page one of the three page advertisement, we read these words as we stare at a middle aged woman who is staring at herself in the mirror. Now, don't get me wrong. We can get depressed, angry and moody. We're human. It happens. Gosh, want to experience a feeling of depression? Try being a stepfather. Believe me, moods can get sour for a while when it seems the days of your life consist of pouring much needed water into a container that always has a hole in it.

We need to be strong. And we need to be honest. Depression and bipolar disorder advertisements are neither strong or honest. They are geared to capture us when we might feel weak, and they are incredibly dishonest and deceptive. We ought to be so outraged that we boycott Parade magazine. We all should call and write to Lee Kravitz, the editor of Parade magazine, and ask him how he can sleep at night by accepting such dishonest advertising in what was once - America's magazine.

"It could be bipolar disorder"

These words greet us when we turn past the first page of the advertisement. Surprisingly, no specific drug is mentioned. However, we are asked to answer some questions because, "You may need treatment for bipolar disorder, not depression. Your doctor needs to know about all your symptoms to make the correct diagnosis and to prescribe treatment to control your ups as well as your downs."

I think I'm going to be sick. AstraZeneca wants us to believe that, "Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance and millions are undiagnosed or diagnosed incorrectly." Color me super cynical, but now that ADHD and its drugs have come under proper fire, it seems that bipolar disorder is all the rage. The mental disorder of - choice. Of hit television shows like ER. I'm remembering back when for months Sally Field was a guest star and for weeks we were being prepped for "believing in" bipolar disorder. Sorry, something does not add up right.

We're supposed to believe the following symptoms are serious enough to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and subsequently - drugged.

  • Talking too fast
  • Buying things you don't need
  • Sleeping less
  • Racing thoughts
  • Flying off the handle

These symptoms are shown to us courtesy of photographic snap shots of the middle aged woman who was staring at herself in the mirror in the first page of the advertisement. Seems to me, women are being targeted for subjective mental disorders and drugs. What a nice thing to do around Mother's Day, huh? Disgraceful. I think I read something last week about how more girls now are being diagnosed with ADHD than boys.

You, the reader, are also given a postage paid card from AstraZeneca to mail in so you can, "Learn more about the causes and treatment of bipolar disorder." Some of the other questions we are supposed to answer yes or no to, then bring to our doctor go like this:

You were much more interested in sex than usual?

You were so easily distracted by things around you that you had trouble concentrating or staying on track?

You felt much more self-confident than usual?

I don't know about you, but I think this first question was recently designed for Debra Lafave, the Florida teacher/molestor who chose to have sex with a boy, then went on to become a celebrated bipolar spokeswoman. If we are to take AstraZeneca seriously, and bipolar disorder seriously, then we must completely reject the idea of free will, personal responsibility, and good/bad consequences. With big pharma and bipolar disorder, nothing you do is in your control. You are a walking case of bipolar disorder just waiting to be diagnosed.

Lee Kravitz, the editor of Parade magazine, needs to understand how harmful three page advertisements like this are. Sure, the money is great. I'm sure he is still counting the dollars from Lunesta advertisements. But I thought I just read something the other day that said sleep aids (sleeping PILLS) are causing a lot of problems for people. Huge drug/mental illness advertisements in Parade magazine just seem out of character, almost anti-American.

For the last several years, I've maintained that big pharma wants us to believe there is a mental disorder for every American. There is now such a thing as infant mental illness. Our elderly parents are being drugged for depression in nursing homes. And for some asinine reason, we can no longer concentrate or sleep like we should. Again, something is not adding up right.

So, that's my Sunday. Maybe I should stop buying the Sunday newspaper. Or go back to work next Sunday. I know I will never read Parade magazine again. Not ever.

Neither should you.

Zizza is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He serves as Vice President for the State of Georgia for the non-profit organization, Parents For Label and Drug Free Education.

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