As if watching the national news on television wasn't depressing enough, we have to endure all the ads about bladder control and chronic joint pain.

In case you haven't noticed, the demographic still watching network news is skewing progressively toward the grave.

Not only are bad things happening all over the world, even worse things are happening to our bodies as the Baby Boom Generation ages.

It's enough to give you acid reflux. But, fortunately, there's a pill for that.

And little wonder that we have sleep disorders. But not to worry. Thanks to modern medicine and pre-demand marketing, there are miracle drugs that allow us to have a safe and undisturbed night's sleep without fear of addiction so we can awaken refreshed and ready for another day of bad news.

Just ask your doctor if you're a candidate for the latest and greatest pharmaceutical solution. He's probably got a drawer full of free samples.

Fine print

Then, of course, there are the continuing squabbles between our political parties. One is always right and the other is always wrong. And vice versa.

All this partisan bickering over health care and taxes and deficits can really get you down. But that's all right too, because there are medications that, if taken as directed, will bring you back from the brink and allow you to function without wanting to end it all.

But just in case you find yourself standing on the ledge of a tall building pondering a long-term solution to a short-term problem, please contact a healthcare professional before doing anything rash.

They'll tell you this feeling of doom is simply one of those nasty little side effects clearly disclosed in your prescription's fine print.

It's also mentioned on broadcast ads that show people riding horseback, playing in the ocean and enjoying fine dining while the announcer softly explains that a small percentage of patients may suffer abdominal pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, acne, loss of hair, blindness, and a possible heart attack as a result of taking this medication.

Golf junket

If, of course, the nightly news gets you stressed out about illegal immigration problems, the building of a mosque near ground zero, Iran gaining nuclear capabilities, or the mid-term elections, it could be worse.

You probably should be giving more thought to your night-time nasal congestion, high cholesterol issues, weakening bone structure and that nagging problem that sends you to the bathroom three times during the night.

Naturally, the medical industrial complex that invents problems we didn't even know we had is ever vigilant.

They've got pills that will adjust your attitude, strengthen your bones, help you stop smoking and make you function like a 21-year-old in the bedroom.

If, however, you should experience such euphoria for more than four hours, you should contact a doctor immediately. The only problem is they're probably in Vegas on a golf junket sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies.

If that happens, just take two aspirin and call them back next week. Unless terrorists obtain the bomb and blow up the world. In which case, your overactive bladder problem won't really matter much anyway.

Reach Ken Burger at kburger@postandcourier.com or 937-5598 or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Ken_Burger. To read previous columns, go to postandcourier.com/burger.