Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is responding well to treatment, doctors at the Mayo Clinic say. The Illinois congressman, who has been absent from Congress since early June, is suffering from the milder and more easily treated version of the disorder, according to the clinic. Bipolar II "affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought, and drive," the clinic said in a statement, noting that gastric bypass surgery, which Jackson underwent in 2004, "can change how the body absorbs food, liquids, vitamins, nutrients and medications."
Jackson, who the Chicago Sun-Times notes faces weak competition in his November election, is "regaining his strength," the clinic says. He won the Democratic primary in March, but is being probed by the House Ethics Committee. Only a few high-profile lawmakers have admitted suffering from mental illness, including Michigan's Lynn Nancy Rivers, the Chicago Tribune notes. Rivers, a Democrat, disclosed her long struggle with bipolar disorder during her first campaign in 1994 and went on to win four terms in the House. "It's very easy for members of Congress to be advocates for mental health treatment," she once said. "It's hard for members of Congress to admit being consumers of mental health treatment." (Read more Jesse Jackson Jr. stories.)