Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. battling a mood disorder, what does that mean?

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Jesse Jackson Jr. is a used to being in the public eye. He's an Illinois Congressman and son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. But now he's battling a very private issue. He’s being treated for a mood disorder. We talked to a Valley clinical psychologist about this condition.

“There is a lot of pressure living in the public eye,” said Dr. Tom Virden, clinical psychologist with Midwestern University. “There is a lot of pressure living in the political public eye and there are a lot of expectations. A difficulty in dealing with that, to cope with that, is not unexpected at all.”

These are all things that may have contributed to Congressman Jackson’s diagnosis of having a mood disorder.

“Mood disorder is kind of an umbrella term that we give to people who are having difficulty handling their moods,” Virden said. “This can be depression. This can be anxiety and it can be bipolar.”

While the type of mood disorder the congressman is being treated for is not known, Virden said most people who do experience this condition are simply depressed.
“If you're mood be it really, really good or really, really bad, gets in the way from your ability to function, hold down your job and do it well, or maintain good relationships, then that's a problem,” Virden continued.

A problem the doctor said can be treated. This includes using medications to therapy.

“What we like to do is help people identify some of those triggers for depression, reevaluate them, and learn how to either accept them or think about them differently,” Virden said.

But the doctor said asking for help is always a step in the right direction.
“He [Jackson] is an example to other people who may be dealing with mood disorders,” Virden said. “So they too may follow in those footsteps and get effective treatment and help.”

Jackson is getting help at a residential treatment facility. A statement from his office said, he's responding well to the treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.