Jesse Jackson Jr. Has ‘Mood Disorder’

More details emerge about the Illinois lawmaker's whereabouts, health and prognosis.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

(The Root) — Ending weeks of speculation about his whereabouts, U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s office released a statement late Wednesday saying that he is being treated for a mood disorder.

“The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder,” said a prepared statement from his staff emailed to The Root and attributed to an unnamed physician. “He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Further, “the rumors about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse [are] not true,” said the statement.

News of Jackson’s health and whereabouts has roiled the political world, from Chicago to the beltway, since June 26 when his office announced that he was being treated for “exhaustion.” In recent days, colleagues, voters and pundits have called on him to reveal details about the cause of his absence.

“[Jackson’s] health is a No. 1 priority,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday, according to NBC-5 Chicago. “As a public official, though, there reaches a point where you have a public responsibility to tell people what you’re facing and how things are going.”

“Look, let’s not kid ourselves, he’s going to have to answer these questions,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said Tuesday, also according to NBC-5 Chicago. “Why don’t we just know what it is?”

But his colleague, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) told The Root on Wednesday that his constituents needed to patient because Jackson is not the only elected official who has fallen ill and could not perform his duties. As an example, he cited former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head last year during a public appearance. Republican Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is recovering from a stroke.

“I’m sure he will return when he and his doctors determine that it is prudent,” Davis said. 

Delmarie Cobb, a longtime Chicago-based political consultant and former communications aide to Jackson, agreed with Davis, saying it is likely that Jackson will return to Congress after Labor Day. Congress goes on a monthlong break in about two weeks, she said. She said before he took ill, his voting record was stellar.