Bipolar disorder (what used to be called manic-depression) is a mental illness and sufferers can experience mood swings that can happen a few times a year – or several times a day. Catherine Zeta-Jones has bravely gone public about her bout with this often debilitating illness.
[In April 2011] Catherine Zeta-Jones checked into a clinic in the US for treatment for bipolar disorder, her spokeswoman has confirmed. The Welsh-born actor, 41, is believed to have spent five days at the Silver Hill hospital in Connecticut last week.
Zeta-Jones’s husband, actor Michael Douglas, 66, was diagnosed with cancer last year.
“After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her bipolar II disorder,” said the spokeswoman. “She’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films.”
Her husband announced in January that he was cancer-free after six months of treatment for throat cancer.
Zeta-Jones was born in Swansea, and came to fame in the 1990s TV drama series The Darling Buds of May. She received an Oscar and Bafta award in 2003 for her role in the film adaptation of the musical Chicago.
Zeta-Jones and Douglas have two children: Dylan, 10, and Carys, seven.
Other celebrities who are said to have suffered from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, are Stephen Fry and, more recently, actor Charlie Sheen.
Mark Davies, of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: “Clearly this is a difficult time for Catherine Zeta-Jones and we send her our best wishes.
“Bipolar disorder is a distressing and potentially severe condition and she will need a lot of care and support as she seeks to tackle it. But it is possible to overcome mental illness with the right treatment.
“She deserves great credit for revealing her illness in this way. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health, which often means that people stay silent and try to fight the illness on their own.
“When people such as Catherine Zeta-Jones speak out it, makes a big difference to the millions of other people facing mental illness.
“It shows them that they are not alone and that mental illness can affect anyone, rich or poor, famous or otherwise.”
While bipolar disorder is a serious illness, it does respond well to treatment. If you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from bipolar disorder, it is vital that you seek treatment. For more information, visit SADAG (the South African Depression and Anxiety Group)
This article originally appeared in The Guardian