Jesse Jackson Jr. Mystery Illness Is Mood Disorder, Physician Says

The doctor for Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who has been missing from Congress on medical leave to treat a mystery illness for the past month, finally issued a statement Wednesday evening.

“The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder,” his physician wrote in a statement released by Jackson’s office late Wednesday evening. “He is responding positively to treatment.”

The physician did not disclose Jackson’s current whereabouts.

The statement also emphasized that information regarding his treatment is “protected by federal law under the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.” It did not disclose the name of the attending physician or the treatment center “in order to protect his continuing privacy.”

Jackson’s chief of staff, Rick Bryant, also went on the record Wednesday evening calling reports that Jackson was being treated for alcohol or substance abuse “not true.”

Mood disorders can range from mania to depression to bipolar disorder. The statement did not specify what is ailing Jackson beyond a “mood disorder.’

The mystery is fueling rumor and speculation throughout Washington and Illinois. Tuesday, a senior aide to Jackson who requested anonymity knocked down rumors that Jackson  had attempted suicide. This was  after the Chicago WLS talk radio show Roe & Roeper reported that sources indicated the Democratic congressman’s mysterious absence was a result of  a suicide attempt.  Wednesday evening, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on ‘Nightly News’ that Jackson had been in Arizona seeking rehab for alcoholism and addiction.

A congressional source close to Jackson said the congressman is not likely to return to the House until after Labor Day and said he had spoken to Jackson as recently as “the last few days.” Although he continues treatment at an inpatient facility, the congressman is not facing any life-threatening ailments, the source said.

Jackson has not voted in the House since June 8, missing more than 80 votes during the span of 11 days of legislative business. His absence was not explained as a medical leave until June 25, when his office said he was suffering from “exhaustion.”




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