Hafal issues statement on Catherine Zeta Jones’ treatment for bipolar disorder

It has been widely reported in the media today that Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones has received treatment for bipolar disorder following the stress of dealing with her husband’s recent illness.

Commenting on these news reports, Alun Thomas, Deputy Chief Executive of the Welsh mental health charity Hafal said:

“It’s been stated that Catherine has bipolar ll, an illness which causes significant mood swings.

“This means that unlike bipolar l – which causes extreme mania and depression where people can become detached from reality – Catherine is likely to have had racing thoughts, mood swings, been easily distracted and had episodes of quite major depression. Life stress can be a cause for bipolar ll and in Catherine’s case that has been reported this year.

“Catherine is fortunate that she was able to identify she was ill and had a facility where she could get timely help. In Wales there are recognised methods of treatment, one of which is looking at a Whole Person Approach which identifies that people with bipolar need more than medication and talking therapies.

“A Whole Person Approach looks at all areas of a person’s life in order to give them the best opportunity to recover. For example, if someone is living in poor quality housing this could exacerbate their condition so the Whole Person Approach would seek to find ways in which the individual’s housing situation could be improved.

“When someone in Wales has bipolar disorder statutory and voluntary sector services need to work together to ensure people are able to take control of their lives.

“Many creative people have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; people like Stephen Fry, Carrie Fisher, Florence Nightingale and Frank Bruno; there are many people out there who have had the illness and, most importantly, recovered and gone on to lead productive lives.

“The fact that Catherine is due to return to work shows that people with bipolar disorder can, with the right treatment, recover and return to living a valued and productive life.”

To read Hafal’s “Introduction to Bipolar Disorder” please visit: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/pdf/Bilingual%20Bipolar%201%20update%20July%202010_Layout%201.pdf

To read “12 Lives” a publication which features 12 people talking very openly about their experience of serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder, please visit: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/pdf/English_12_Lives.pdf