Jesse Jackson Jr. treated for 'mood disorder'

File photo of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., File photo of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., thanking supporters at his election night party in Chicago after his Democratic primary in the Illinois' 2nd District. A statement from Jackson's office Thursday, July 5, 2012, said that Jackson's medical condition is more serious than initially believed and he's undergoing evaluation and treatment at an in-patient medical facility. The congressman's office announced last week that he had been on medical leave for two weeks and was being treated for exhaustion. (March 20, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.s monthlong absence from Congress is due to a mood disorder, not alcohol or drug-abuse treatment, according to the Illinois Democrats office.

The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder, according to a statement from his physician released last night by Jacksons office. He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.

The physicians name and that of the treatment facility were withheld to shield Jacksons privacy, according to the lawmakers office, which said in its news release the rumor about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse is not true. The office gave no further details, including how long Jackson would be on leave.

The secrecy surrounding Jacksons condition has caused consternation among fellow Democrats, with some demanding that he be more forthcoming. Jackson, 47, regarded in the past as a rising star in the party due in part to his prominent lineage, is also facing an ethics investigation over the search for a successor to Barack Obama, who gave up his U.S. Senate seat in Illinois when he became president.

Earlier Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer added his voice to a group of Democratic lawmakers calling for Jackson to explain his ailments. Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, told reporters that Jackson would be well advised to give his constituents as much information as possible about the medical condition and treatment that have kept him from Washington.

Unexplained Illness

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Mark Reinecke, chief psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and a specialist in depression and anxiety, said major depression and bipolar disorder are among the most common mood disorders.

Such illnesses are very common and can be quite disabling in terms of the effect on an individuals life and their functioning, Reinecke said in a telephone interview. He said he had no personal knowledge of Jacksons case.

These are conditions to be taken seriously, Reinecke said. Effective treatments are available but its difficult to know how long they will take.

In a July 5 statement, Jacksons office said the son of civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson needed extended inpatient treatment for a medical condition that was more serious than previously thought.

Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time, according to that earlier statement.


Inappropriate Questions
A June 25 statement from Jacksons office said the lawmaker began a medical leave June 10 because he was suffering from exhaustion.

The congressmans father, prior to the disclosure about his sons mood disorder, told reporters yesterday it was inappropriate to ask questions about his son during the annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition business luncheon in Chicago. Some Illinois politicians agreed.

Im calling on all my Democratic friends to back off, give him some space, Roland Burris, who was named to fill Obamas Senate seat after he was elected president, said in an interview at the PUSH event.

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, who also attended the luncheon, said, The congressman needs time to get better, and I pray for him.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California also defended Jacksons reticence, while telling a news conference she hoped he will have the appropriate evaluation that so that he can share that information.

Hoyer Switches
Hoyer made his comment a day after he defended Jacksons announcements about his absence. The Maryland Democrat told reporters two days ago that Jacksons office had certainly reported that he is ill and seeking help and that fulfills that responsibility to inform constituents.

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On July 9, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, told reporters that Jackson should provide constituents in his Chicago district with more information about his health.

There reaches a point when you have a responsibility to tell people what youre facing and how things are going, Durbin said.

Jackson is in his ninth term as a House member and survived a primary challenge in March from former Representative Debbie Halvorson.
Ethics Probe
He is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which is reviewing whether Jackson improperly lobbied in 2008 for appointment to a vacant U.S. Senate seat by then-IllinoisGovernor Rod Blagojevich.

A report by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which referred the matter to the ethics panel, said there was probable cause to believe that Jackson directed Chicago businessman Raghuveer Nayak to raise campaign money for Blagojevich in exchange for appointment to Obamas former Senate seat or knew that Nayak would make such an offer.

On June 20, Nayak was arrested on unrelated federal charges of paying kickbacks to doctors for patient referrals, according to a Justice Department statement.
Jackson testified as a defense witness at Blagojevichs political corruption trial, denied raising money for Blagojevich and said he refused the governors demand for a $25,000 campaign contribution.

Blagojevich, convicted in June 2011 of 17 corruption counts including bribery, extortion conspiracy and bribery conspiracy, is serving a 14-year prison term.

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