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Since last Wed, July 11th, 2012 the media has been reporting various different ailments as to the reason why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., has been missing from his Congressional duties.

NBC reported that he was being treated for alcoholism.

CBS reported that he was being treated for a sleep disorder and the Associated Press and CNN cited a mood disorder as the problem.

“Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is “receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder,” according to a statement released by the congressman’s office, which attributed the quote to an unidentified doctor.” – CNN –

The reason could easily be one, two or all three of these disorders. The question that arises is why such secrecy? Why such a bad stigma towards individuals who do have brain, mood and sleep disorders? This is real people!  The need to overly medicate, to cope with the stresses of everyday life are bogging people down and their bodies are succumbing to these diseases.

We shouldn’t have to be politically correct about the real issues we face as a society afflicted with overindulgence, large amounts of stress and confusion. Most of us feel compelled to be “connected” at all times – whether through our cell phones or the Internet. Add a very stressful family and work load on top of that and you’ll too find yourself looking for some way to cope.

If Jesse Jackson Jr., is suffering from a mental illness; then what kind is it? His camp has reported exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Perhaps he’s suffering from depression, bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia?  Why is his representation so afraid to be straight up about what is ailing the young senator.

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver came to his defense stating that “This is not about a congressman. This is about a human being who is sick. This is not a political matter; it’s a health matter”.

Although I see Cleaver’s point when it comes to Jackson’s privacy it’s more of a matter of concealing something that doesn’t really need to be concealed. If Jackson is in treatment for alcoholism, mood or sleep disorder he shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of it. These are diseases that need to be handled with care in the way the media presents them so that people aren’t afraid to come forward and seek help.

I do hope that Jackson recovers from whatever his health condition is but he nor his representation should cover it up for fear of a bad stigma. It’s 2012; it’s time to help each other seek the treatment they desperately need without retaliation.

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Update (7.19.12) : In a statement to Talking Points Memo (TPM) on July 18th, 2012, Rep., Jesse Jackson Jr’s office said:

“Information regarding the Congressman’s treatment is protected by federal law under the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPPA”). The name of the attending physician and treatment center will not be disclosed in order to protect his continuing privacy. His physician makes the following statement:

“The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment.”

End of statement.

In addition, the rumors about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse are not true.”

If you or someone you know needs treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction and any co-occuring disorders please call us at (877) 711-HOPE (4673) or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.

Sources: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/July-2012/Jesse-Jackson-Jr-The-Fog-of-Mood-Disorder-Culture-and-Reporting/

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/11/politics/congress-jackson-absence/index.html

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/office-jesse-jackson-jr-being-treated-for-mood 

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