Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Treatment For Bipolar Disorder

Wowza! This is one I didn’t see coming.

It was announced yesterday that Catherine Zeta-Jones has entered treatment for bipolar disorder. Apparently, after a year of dealing with her husband‘s failing health, the actress decided last week to take care of herself for a moment and address some on-going psychiatric problems. Her rep said, “Catherine made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II disorder. She’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bipolar II, it’s essentially the same as regular bipolar disorder, but with an extra helping of depression. Perhaps this explains some of the disparaging remarks the actress made about herself in the press last month. Good for her for getting treatment. As a mother and a wife to an ailing husband, it’s incredibly important that she address these issues.

One question though: I’m no mental health expert, but is it really healthy for someone just out of treatment to go back to work right away, especially on something as stressful as a film set? All that pressure on someone who’s just identified herself as being in a fragile place seems like it might not be the best thing for her. Can anyone who has experience with the disease speak to this?

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  • Not a mental health expert, but I practice social security law… And a lot of the time, doctors will be unsupportive of people with bipolar and other mental health issues claiming disability because they think the best thing for the patient is to be around people and living life as normally as possible. I especially see this in cases involving depression.

  • I agree, I Was treated for bipolar II and quit my job the day I got out of the facility, and didn’t go back to full time work for 10 months!

  • Just FYI: Bipolar II is not like Bipolar I but with an “extra helping of depression”. The depression component of Bipolar I and Bipolar II can be identical. The difference between the two is that those suffering from Bipolar II do not experience full blown mania. They instead experience hypomania, which is similar to mania but is of lesser severity.

  • Going in to a clinic like that would usually mean that she is already on some medical treatment and maybe needs to adjust the dosage or switch medication. If there’s a lot going on at home, people (with the means) can opt to check in so their psychiatrist can more clearly observe if there are any negative side-effects from the current medication or from the dosage adjustment.
    A couple of weeks of stay at the clinic doesn’t cure the Bipolar depression (because it’s considered a life-long condition where you instead have regular check-ups and adjustments as your hormonal levels changes throughout life). And, if the stay is for medication reasons, she should be fine to go back to the life she lead before checking in. It’s probably just a precaution from her psychiatrist.

    • This. I was treated for Bipolar II and went right back to my life. With therapy, the right medications, and some lifestyle changes it’s entirely possible to transition right back.

  • i’m an rn at an inpatient psych hospital. each case is different, but having a strong support system can make a HUGE difference in how well a person responds to treatment. i bet she has alot of support. she’s also probably been coping with this for a long time now and knows how much her mind/body can handle. maybe she’s being proactive before the stress hits.

  • Every individual case is different, of course. Getting back into your life, job and activities worked for me, along with meds and check ins with my psychiatrist. You know what helped the most? It was when I “came out” and told the people in my little corner of the universe that I had a mental illness. It was like a ten ton weight had been lifted off my back. People are (for the most part) either curious and ask questions or they start telling YOU what medications they are on! I’m also a little bit proud of playing my part in removing the stigma long associated with mental illness. Plus, if you’re a latent b*tch like me, you can have some fun with it. You can tell people you don’t want to be around that you have “issues” that would be lethal if you weren’t medicated. I like their reactions!

  • I am a mental health nurse. Bipolar II also differs from Bipolar I in the following way: people with the diagnosis bipolar II experience hypomania (a state that is less severe than mania but “higher” than baseline) as opposed to people who have bipolar I who experience mania (which has a much greater negative impact on one’s life).

    Whether it is helpful or harmful for someone who is recovering from a mental illness to go back to work depends entirely on the individual, the illness, and at what point they are in their recovery. For many people, especially those experiencing depression, work is considered part of their recovery/treatment. It provides distraction from the negative thoughts that are bombarding them, provides meaning and a source of self-fulfillment, and can at times do more for their mental health than medication. For many people I have talked to who are recovering from mental illness work and having a “normal” routine is the single most important piece of their recovery process.

    I’s also like to say that using the word “fragile” when talking about someone who has mental illness is demeaning.