Illness as more than metaphor
"One of my hobbies is to read press releases informing us of the existence of a new illness, the 'illness of the week', if you like. Recently I received one that said: 'Psychologists say that love sickness is a genuine disease and needs more awareness and diagnoses. Those little actions that are normally seen as the symptoms of the first flush of love - buying presents, waiting by the phone, or making an effort before a date - may actually be signs of a deep-rooted problem to come. Many people who suffer from love sickness cannot cope with the intensity of love and have been destabilised by falling in love or suffer on account of their love being unrequited.' Of course, an intense passion can and does have an impact upon our bodies. But when even love can be seen as the harbinger of illness, what aspect of our lives can be said to be illness-free? What can we possibly do that will not apparently induce some sickness or syndrome? Medicalisation no longer knows any limits. It is so intrusive that it can impact on virtually any of our experiences, creating a situation where illness is increasingly perceived as normal." More here.
"The more difficult we find it to make statements of moral purpose, the more ambiguous we feel about what is right and wrong, the more comfortable we feel using the language of health to make sense of our lives. This is now so prevalent that we no longer even notice when we are doing it. For example, we no longer tell teenagers that pre-marital sex is good or bad or sinful. Instead we say that pre-marital sex is a health risk. We have become very good at using health to regulate people's lives in an intrusive and systematic fashion. Even medicine and food have acquired moral connotations. Organic food is seen as 'good', not only in nutritional terms, but in moral terms. Junk food, on the other hand, is seen as evil. A fat person is considered to have a serious moral problem, rather than simply a health one. As we become morally illiterate, we turn to health to save us from circumstances where we face a degree of moral or spiritual disorientation."