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Catherine Zeta-Jones opens up about bipolar illness

April 20, 2011 Catherine Zeta, Michael Douglas

Los Angeles, CA, United States (AHN Entertainment) - Catherine Zeta-Jones has opened up about her bipolar disorder. The 41-year-old actress, who was recently admitted to a mental health facility, said going public with her illness is worth it, saying she hopes she has encouraged a person suffering from a similar disorder to seek out help.

The Academy Award-winning actress was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder earlier this month. The mental illness is marked by prolonged periods of depression alternating with episodes of mild mania.

She said in a statement to People magazine, "This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it."

"There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help."

Zeta-Jones privately struggled with husband Michael Douglas' battle with throat cancer. And while Douglas, 66, recovered, she didn't. She realized that she needed help in the face of her mounting depression.

A close friend said, "The simple things would just seem overwhelming, like going out to dinner. There was just a little piece of her chipped away. It was hard to watch because I knew how hard she was trying."

Zeta-Jones checked into Silver Hill Hospital in Canaan, CT, in early April. She and Douglas are both parents to 10-year-old son Dylan and 8-year-old daughter Carys.

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