In response to public speculation and questions about the whereabouts of Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and the nature of his "physical and emotional ailments," the lawmaker's office provided a little more information. Jackson's chief of staff, Rick Bryant, released a brief statement from the physician treating the lawmaker Wednesday night that read, "The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery."
Bryant also noted that rumors that Jackson was being treated for alcohol or substance abuse were not true. He did not, however, offer any additional information, such as where the congressman is being treated or for how long, citing federal privacy laws.
Jackson has been absent from Capitol Hill since June 10, although his office didn't issue a statement about it until two weeks later, when it announced that he was being treated for "exhaustion." Then last week, it released a second statement saying that he was suffering from more serious physical and emotional ailments than initially believed and that the lawmaker had been battling emotional problems for some time. "Mood disorder" is a reference frequently used to describe depression or manic depression.
Dr. Daniel Yohanna, vice chairman of the University of Chicago's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, told the Associated Press that depression affects about five percent of men.
"It could come out of nowhere, it runs in families, you could have a genetic predisposition, or it can come after a difficulty in your life," he explained. "Once it gets rolling it's hard to stop it on your own."
Jackson was considered a rising political star and one of few people who had the potential to break the "mayor for life" stronghold the Daley family seemingly had on Chicago. Representing his state in the U.S. Senate also was once a real possibility that is now tainted by an Ethics Committee investigation into his involvement in fundraiser and family friend Raghuveer Nayak's alleged offer of large campaign donations to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for appointing Jackson to the seat vacated by Barack Obama. Jackson also allegedly asked Nayak to pay for airline tickets for a woman with whom he was conducting an affair.
Senate Candidate No. 5, as Jackson was dubbed in the FBI's criminal investigation, has repeatedly denied the allegations. But that hasn't stopped the ethics investigation or wild speculation about what's really behind his illness and subsequent disappearing act, and for some the mood disorder diagnosis raises more questions.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)