Updated 10/19/12 – 4:18 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Sources said Friday that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is planning to return to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, as he continues treatment for bipolar disorder.
Jackson was admitted to the Mayo Clinic this summer, and in August was diagnosed with Bipolar II depression. He was released from the clinic in early September, and has been recuperating at his home in Washington, D.C., ever since. He has been on leave from the U.S. House of Representatives since June 10.
Sources confirmed to CBS 2 that Jackson may return to the clinic in a matter of days.
Political consultant Delmarie Cobb said, “He needs to be in an environment where he can get well.”
Cobb, who headed the 1988 presidental campaign for Jackson’s father, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., acknowledged the timing of Jackson’s return to Mayo might look suspect, coming comes on the heels of new federal investigation into potential misuse of his campaign finances. But Cobb said Jackson is only trying to escape the stress from the media.
“Having to look over your shoulder, with media jumping out of bushes and over fences, is certainly not an environment that is conducive to one’s health,” Cobb said. “Mayo Clinic may wind up being a refuge for him to make sure that he’s doing the things that he needs to do to return back to Congress.”
Cobb said Jackson should have helped himself by making a personal statement about his medical issues, even if would have been in a scripted video released to the media.
“You cannot be upset with the media for trying to get the story if, in fact, you’re not doing what you need to do to stop them from coming after you,” she said.
According to medical experts, stress is a major factor that could send a bipolar patient back to treatment.
Dr. Robert Shulman, a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, said the most common reason patients stop taking their prescribed medication is they start feeling better.
“In bipolar disorder, we have the experience where patients feel good, and they’ll enter a period of remission where the medicines will help them feel better,” he said. “They’ll feel better, they’ll feel like they have control again, and because they feel good, that’s one of the main reasons why people stop taking their medications.”
Another reason is that they might suffer troublesome side effects from their medication.
Shulman said some prescriptions make patients very thirsty, always hungry, or extremely sleepy, and it can be tough to deal with those effects.
When bipolar patients stop taking their medications, Shulman said, “if they’re still at a period of time where they are vulnerable for the appearance of their illness, then they may show symptoms of it again.”
Cobb said, while Jackson’s constituents aren’t upset at him needing to take time off for his illness, they do want to hear from him about what’s going on.
“He will be re-elected, but he cannot continue to depend on his constituents’ good will, because at some point, it will erode,” she said.
She said Jackson’s illness could ultimately prove to be just a “bump in the road for the Congressman, saying he should come through this ordeal a stronger husband and father, and a better congressman.
Jackson rarely has been spotted in public since taking his leave of absence. Earlier this week, a reporter and photographer for the news website “The Daily” spotted Jackson on the steps of his home. Jackson said he is “not well” and sees doctors twice a day for treatment.
Last week, Jackson reportedly was spotted at a D.C. bar near his home, drinking with a group of people.
The longtime Democratic congressman is reportedly under federal investigation for allegedly misusing campaign funds to redecorate his home. He is also being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for his dealings with convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Jackson’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) has said her husband has no intention of resigning his seat, or dropping out of his run for re-election, but she said she does not know if he will return to work, or to the campaign trail, before the November election.