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Jesse Jackson Jr. Diagnosed As Bipolar

Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is being treated for bipolar disorder, according to statement released Monday by Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic.

Previously it had only been reported that Jackson was undergoing treatment for depression and gastrointestinal issues at the residential facility. Jackson has been on leave from the capitol for the last two months as he undergoes treatment.

The statement specified the Congressman’s condition as Bipolar II, which is characterized by episodes of depression and hypomania. “Congressman Jackson is responding well to the treatment and regaining his strength,” a statement released by the clinic said.


The statement said that the condition effects parts of the brain that control emotion, reasoning and motivation, and whose onset can stem from a number of factors, ranging from genetics to stress and environment. In addition, a weight loss surgery performed on Jackson in 2004 was cited as a possible factor, as it could have changed how his body reacted to certain foods and medications. Bipolar II is treatable, but the clinic did not offer its methods or an expected time frame for Jackson’s release.

Monday’s announcement was the most information released on Jackson since his June 10 departure from Washington, but still leaves his ability to return to his post up in the air. Though an aide to Jackson commented that the congressman could be expected back within a few weeks, no word from his camp has been released following the clinic’s statement.

Approximately 5.7 million American’s suffer from bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, including former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island suffered from the disease along with a number of addictions, but served for 16 years. The son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy was an outspoken voice against those who would stigmatize mental illness sufferers. Kennedy was diagnosed in 2006 after spending a month in the Mayo Clinic, and returned to serve his district until he retired last year.

Rep. Jackson’s father had little to offer to the media following the announcement, continuing to make his son’s health his first priority. “I’m glad he’s getting the treatment he needs and is responding well,” the reverend said, adding that “there’s no timetable” for his recovery.

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