Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones Seeks Treatment for Bipolar II Disorder

Both CNN and the Los Angeles Times have reported that Catherine Zeta-Jones, wife of Michael Douglas, checked herself in to a mental health facility for treatment.

This explanation is from the L.A. Times:

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depression, is typically lifelong and recurrent, David J. Miklowitz, PhD, said. Some people have their first episode in childhood, others later in life; the majority, during the teen years. Some people experience episodes every few years; others are in and out of episodes constantly.

Bipolar I is characterized by severe manias, said Miklowitz, during which people either "feel on top of the world" or irritable and angry. They sometimes feel like they have superpowers or heightened perception; their thoughts race and they're loaded with energy. Usually people with bipolar I swing between this manic state and a "flip side" of extreme depression during which they slow down, feel sad and lose interest in activities they usually enjoy (including sex). They can suffer from fatigue and insomnia, and can become suicidal.

People with bipolar II swing from severe depression to a milder and briefer manic state called hypomania. They aren't impaired to the extent that folks with bipolar I can be. "People notice a change, but it's not extreme," Miklowitz said.

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