Catherine Zeta-Jones Hospitalized for Bipolar Disorder

Academy-Award winning actress Catherine Zeta- Jones has voluntarily checked herself into a hospital for treatment of her bipolar disorder.

This is Zeta-Jones’s second hospitalization for the disease. The first was 2 years ago, when she revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2. At that time, she had been dealing with a lot of stress, not the least of which was her husband, Michael Douglas’s fight with Stage 4 throat cancer.

Publicist Cece Yorke announced that:

Catherine has proactively checked into a healthcare facility. Previously Catherine has said that she is committed to periodic care in order to manage her health in an optimum manner.

How do you treat bipolar disorder?

We’ve previously covered other aspects of bipolar disorder:

So a little bit about treatment seems in order.

To date, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. But proper treatment helps most people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms.This is even true for people with the most severe forms of the illness.

Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong and recurrent illness, people with the disorder need long-term treatment to maintain control of bipolar symptoms. An effective maintenance treatment plan includes medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapse and reducing symptom severity.


Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed and medications prescribed by people with an M.D. (doctor of medicine), usually a psychiatrist. Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Several different medications may need to be tried before the best course of treatment is found.

Mood stabilizing medications are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for years.

Except for lithium, many of these medications are anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications are usually used to treat seizures, but they also help control moods. These medications are commonly used as mood stabilizers in bipolar disorder:

  • Lithium was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes.
  • Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.
  • More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.

Antipsychotic medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Often, these medications are taken with other medications.

  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa), when given with an antidepressant medication, may help relieve symptoms of severe mania or psychosis. Olanzapine can be used for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder as well, even when a person does not have psychotic symptoms.
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify), like olanzapine, is approved for treatment of a manic or mixed episode. Aripiprazole is also used for maintenance treatment after a severe or sudden episode. As with olanzapine, aripiprazole also can be injected for urgent treatment of symptoms of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel) relieves the symptoms of severe and sudden manic episodes. In that way, quetiapine is like almost all antipsychotics. In 2006, it became the first atypical antipsychotic to also receive FDA approval for the treatment of bipolar depressive episodes.
  • Risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon) are other atypical antipsychotics that may also be prescribed for controlling manic or mixed episodes.

Antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants often take a mood stabilizer too. Doctors usually require this because taking only an antidepressant can increase a person’s risk of switching to mania or hypomania, or of developing rapid cycling symptoms. To prevent this switch, doctors who prescribe antidepressants for treating bipolar disorder also usually require the person to take a mood-stabilizing medication at the same time.


therapyIn addition to medication, psychotherapy, or “talk” therapy, can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Some psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people with bipolar disorder learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Family-focused therapy includes family members. It helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved one. This therapy also improves communication and problem-solving.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy helps people with bipolar disorder improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines. Regular daily routines and sleep schedules may help protect against manic episodes.
  • Psychoeducation teaches people with bipolar disorder about the illness and its treatment. This treatment helps people recognize signs of relapse so they can seek treatment early, before a full-blown episode occurs. Usually done in a group, psychoeducation may also be helpful for family members and caregivers.

Lifestyle changes

Successful management of bipolar disorder also  includes living a healthier lifestyle:

  • getting more sleep
  • eating healthier
  • getting more physical activity
  • yoga and/or meditation

Hospital Based Treatment

Hospital based treatments can be done an an inpatient or outpatient basis. As Bipolar Disorder I tends to be more severe, hospitalization is more common than for Bipolar Disorder II.

It is especially important for patients after suicide attempts, or for those with suicidal thoughts. Never ignore comments about a friend or relative harming himself or herself.

Hospital based treatments can also be used for periods of medication adjustments.

For more information, go to the Resounding Health Casebook.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.


  1. Janice Kaguai

    April 24, 2016 at 9:59 am

    It is with disbelief that I read about Catherine Zeta-Jones illness. Mental illness is usually very difficult for the patient and her close relatives to deal with. That does include her close friends. Having first watched her in ‘The Mask of Zorro.’ I think that what happened was sad and unfortunate. It is good to see that her beauty is untouched. Her figure is as wonderful as it has always been and her two children remain close to her, as does her husband Michael Douglas. Catherine is obviously not alone. Bi-polar disorder remains one of the most difficult mental illnesses to diagnose. It can take time for the patient to get a proper diagnosis and proper treatment. As difficult as it may be to diagnose and treat, Bi-polar disorder is treatable. Patients have been known to make a full recovery and go back to their normal lives as though nothing ever happened. I hope and pray that Catherine recovers fully. I believe she deserves her life back and know that she stands a good chance.
    All the best wishes, Janice Kaguai.

  2. Janice Kaguai

    April 24, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Catherine, this one is for you. I know that you can read this as part of your fan mail. If you can’t, maybe someone else who wishes you a speedy recovery will. Stigma is extremely difficult to deal with. Especially that linked with mental illness. You coming out in the open was prudent and sincere. There are a lot of fans out there who wanted to know why you had dropped out of the movie scene. The news was received with sadness by many people. Dealing with Stigma can take time. The people to help you would be those closest to you. Your husband Michael, your parents and brothers and sisters and very good friends. Even the doctor you are seeing can help especially during meetings with family members. I know that there are those who have, before, formed a small group to discuss stigma. To help those recovering deal with it by offering encouragement and acceptance. It is important for the patient to understand that anyone can be taken ill. And anyone can suffer mental illness. That is a fact. Proper treatment is extremely important as is the patience of those close to you. While on medication, nutrition is critical. The rest, leave to your mum, sisters and other relatives. For your husband, and you, emotional support is also critical. Coming from those who love you, it can be the strength needed to go through another day, and the spring board you need to get back to where you were before.

  3. Janice Kaguai

    April 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Someone once told me that if a loved one is ill, let them know that you are with them so that they don’t feel lonely. I know that Catherine may sometimes be unaware of her surroundings. This is because of her condition, an illness which I hope will someday soon, be behind her when she gets proper and effective medication. However, people with loved ones who have been taken ill have ways of spending time with them that i would recommend for Catherine, if I may be so bold. Michael Douglas might need to consider her favourite pass times or hobbies. This is what she enjoyed doing before her illness. Did she listen to music? Did she like taking walks – morning or evening? Did she love the smell of freshly cut roses? Catherine may not be aware of all this but if this was done for her, I think that the emotional connection with her husband and family would be greatly enhanced. It would be Catherine as they have always known her. It would not be impossible for her husband, Michael, to get some important work done when she is sitting opposite him in the garden on a quiet afternoon – and he has one of her favourite songs on. That is an experience I personally have from a friend once who did that. Fortunately, the patient recovered, and they remembered. Another thoughtful thing would be to play an audio CD of her favourite book, or a gospel. She may not hear it, and I pray that someday soon, she will wake up and hear; but those near her will re-establish a connection that even they miss. Or in the very least, enhance it. I wish Catherine, Michael, their friends and family, success in this and whatever it takes to make Catherine better. Good luck and God bless!
    Janice Kaguai

  4. Janice Kaguai

    April 25, 2016 at 7:03 am

    I first saw Catherine Zeta-Jones on the big screen in ‘The Mask of Zorro.’ I thought that she had given one of the best performances I had seen. Even that early in her career, her performance compared easily with other, more experienced actresses. There are many people, no doubt, who want to see her back after she has recovered fully. Bi-polar disorder is treatable though it is a rather complex illness. Stress and stress symptoms can be relieved by medication. But also, by avoiding situations that cause stress or changing them – even circumstances under which a person suffers stress as long as they are positive. The doctor, I think, will have to be careful about medication considering the fact that a person is always on it. A build-up of medicines in the body can lead to more serious problems. All good doctors know this, and know what to do to avoid this. Water detoxifies the body easily. It also aids digestion and makes bowel movement easier. Enough of it given to a patient for each day can easily replace laxatives. Proper nutrition will replace vitamin pills and allow for normal functioning of the digestive system. As long as a person can eat normally, this is what should be encouraged. This keeps even the enzymes in saliva at normal level, as does digestive juices. Regular exercise keeps the muscles toned, and helps the patient so that they don’t look and feel tired all the time. Ten hours of sleep is what they need. An afternoon nap should not take more than two hours. What else a doctor must address, is the chemical balance of a normal, functioning brain including its intake of oxygen vis-a-vis a patient diagnosed with depression or, more specifically, bipolar disorder. Depression, for instance, lifts when the chemical balance of the brain is restored by medication. Also, a thorough CT scan to again examine the brains different areas, should be done every six months. The areas that control memory, the sub-conscious, movement and even impulses. The brain transmits signals that are passed at lightening speed from one nerve to another. Modern hospital equipment should be able to examine this and correct the situation as dictated by medicine. That is what i think. I wish Catherine recovery. All the best.
    Janice Kaguai.

  5. Janice Kaguai

    April 25, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Hi there! This is Janice again. I have been going through this article for the third time. The person who wrote it did a good job, interviewed a very good psychiatrist. Or, at the very least, a doctor who knows about Bipolar disorder. Why I am bringing this up, is because this particular condition is one that I have, coincidentally discussed with a good friend of mine. Her name is Rose and she too, knew of a friend who came down with Bipolar disorder. She not only found herself reading books on the condition, she did enough research to impress quite a few psychiatrists who themselves had only recently (10 years ago), heard about the disease. The topic I want to bring up is mood swings. What causes mood swings? What causes mood swings linked with Bipolar disorder? Generally, a woman’s monthly cycle is stable at 28 days. This means that the hormonal-based natural body function is well regulated. However, it is a fact that in different women, is causes mood swings. The psychiatrist will obviously have to know how these mood swings which many women have, can be treated. Does the woman have to go on medication at that time of the month when she has her period? Do all women who experience mood swings do so during their menstrual flow? What about medication for mood swings? Is it the same for patients with bipolar disorder? Hormones are the bodies chemical messengers. How well the body manufactures them, like other components such as blood cells, depends on nutrition. Doctors have ways of examining patients to determine if their red/white blood cell count is normal and if they are manufacturing hormones normally. Another issue is manic depression and what mental states of mind cause violence. The latter is very sad, when linked with someone like Catherine. Her beauty, career, even fans and other admirers find it difficult to deal with that possibility – leave alone that happening to her. Just like mood changes and mood swings, violent behaviour can be checked with medication. Attention required is so that a person does not harm themselves. Evaluation of the brain’s functions must be done by a psychiatrist who has a record of success for healing people with such difficult problems. Medicines are meant to heal. They do so to millions of people every year. For Catherine, it should be no different. With all the best wishes for recovery.
    Janice Kaguai.

  6. Janice Kaguai

    April 26, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Hello there. This is Janice Kaguai. I am a fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones and feel very strongly about her illness. I sincerely hope that she continues getting medical attention and hope too, that she makes a full recovery. There are some points I want to raise about her mental health. Considering her illness – which is particular – as opposed to depression or other kinds of mental illness, it might be (this I picked from a medical journal) a good idea for the doctor to analyze her work before she got ill. This will give him/her a good idea of Catherine’s strength of mind which is always critical in handling stress and daily occurences that can lead to depression. Did she enjoy reading? Was she involved in studies of any kind that would take up a lot of her time and mental strength? How easily did she take this kind of work (where it applies)? When would she feel tired and take a break? At this point, I would evaluate this alongside a university professor, a university student, a CEO, a dancer, even an actress who has a lot to do before a movie is released. What dedication did Catherine have to her work? Did she enjoy acting? Was she aware of the many negatives there are from people jealous of her success? How well did she handle that? Can the doctor come up with a step by step diagnosis of her condition starting from when she started going under? Keep one thing in mind, her intelligence and flair when it comes to dealing with people was something that came through in the TV interviews that the gave. Catherine had an ease about her that made her likeable in public. She also had a way of handling mistakes in public that brought smiles to some lips – in a nice way. She knew that she is beautiful, and there are those who accepted her on this basis. There are people who find success so rewarding that their strength to continue beats heavy odds. She was one and still is, one of those people. Wishing you the best, Catherine.
    Janice Kaguai.

  7. Janice Kaguai

    April 26, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Hello there. Janice Kaguai here again. I have read this article again because there is so much to go over. I think that I have read it for the last time. I have read about bipolar disorder before, as I have other psychiatric illnesses. Familiarising myself with this particular one that much was because of Catherine Zeta-Jones illness. I would like to comment on cognitive behaviour. Psychiatrists agree that this is very well based on intelligence and an individual’s thought patterns as determined by their IQ. An intelligent person will have thought patterns based on the IQ which is of course, show cased by years of education and very high performance standards. Needless to say, cognitive behaviour varies from person to person. Another thing to consider is the overall health of the individual’s mind. This is based on their genetic makeup, nutrition from early in life and through their growing years. An active mind not only takes in nutrition more than an inactive mind, it is again a question of activity as determined by IQ, education standards and performance in this field – as well as after they get a job. All this is taken into consideration when evaluating a person’s cognitive behaviour. It will also help a psychiatrist get to the problem and administer effective medication. I believe that for bipolar patients, this is possible. As it is for Catherine Zeta-Jones.
    Janice Kaguai.

  8. Janice Kaguai

    April 28, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Hi! This is Janice Kaguai again. Today, I would like to address efficacy of medicines. Regarding Catherine’s illness, I want to point this out. She should be able to respond to medication – even though she does not respond quite as much as she should. That is the reason for continuity with treatments. This is my take. Too much medicine can have a negative effect on the body. Also, making it more difficult for conventional medicine to work properly. This is due to a build-up of chemical substances in the medicines that would work against what other medicines subscribed by doctors do. For example, Serotonin inhibitors prescribed for patients with schizophrenia or manic depression should work without being hampered by other medicines – whether or not build up is the problem. A healthy mind functioning at 100% capability should respond to medicines to clear problems easily. If problems persist, the response to medication should be checked. What inhibits it? What other conditions does a person have requiring further medication which will work negatively against treatment? Medication, vis-a-vis a healthy mind or a mind that should, all things considered respond well to medication. Other vital signs to look out for and that would be related to treatment are: eye-check up and the response of the retina, optic nerve and brain, nerve ends, hands, fingertips, toes, hair roots and where else sensitivity related to brain function is easily detected, smell and taste or at the very least, how well these were functioning before Catherine’s illness, and any discolouration of the skin, mucous membranes etc. that may be related to medication, a lack of detoxification, or any secondary condition related to her bi-polar disorder. I wish Catherine recovery. And pray that she does come back.
    Janice Kaguai.

  9. Janice Kaguai

    April 29, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Hi! This is continued, to wish Catherine Zeta-Jones full recovery. When she eventually does (I am an optimist), she should be able to handle all the negative comments there have been about her illness. Besides, she will not be working alone. Her husband Michael Douglas is always at her side. I am sure that when she takes the turn for the better, he will be there to steer her through it. Catherine, you will not be able to read this but I want to tell you anyway. You have always been a very beautiful woman. Many people, including myself, were surprised when you married Michael Douglas. That is because we knew how difficult it was to get such a catch, and how much harder it would be to keep him. The admiration you had (and still have) from friends and fans remains. That is one of the reasons why. I will do something I consider a little special for you. That is to say a little prayer before my patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel. My birthday falls on 29th September. It is his feast as well as that of St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. It is considered very, very important in the Roman Catholic Church. I have solved some problems this way, like finding a ‘lost’ relative and a shoe I had lost, even my national ID! Then I will light a candle, to remind myself and friends what you were before your illness. And, I am sure, to your husband Michael. I wish you a speedy and full recovery. Stay beautiful.
    Janice Kaguai.

    • Janice Kaguai

      May 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Hello Catherine. I have been catching up on the news and found that you are doing well with the treatment for your illness. I am writing this to continue encouraging you to go through with the entire course. This takes courage and it takes commitment to your mental health. There are a lot of people who want to see you back. I do hope that you make a complete recovery and go back to the movies. Illness happens to everyone. It is just different with different people. There are those who take it very badly and ask why it should happen to them. This is normal, as long as it does not turn into something dangerous. What people with little sympathy or empathy say about ill or sick people is often unkind. This can lead to unhappiness and bouts of violent anger that are triggered often, by someone’s belief in the power of modern medicine, faith in human dignity, also belief in a second chance and the power of good that we see in close friends and relatives that gives us hope. From a deeper view point, the question of medical ethics among practitioners or good doctors with mentally ill people under their care is very powerful. This for many patients, is the anchor that holds them down and continues giving them hope that things will work out when/if they complete their medical course. Coupled with the medicines they take and the sound advice they get from practitioners, it is possible to go back to healthy living. That is something that many people all over the world enjoy.

      I also want to comment on a post I read. This one is beauty oriented. Catherine, you do have beautiful skin and very beautiful eyes. The oil you are using is great but can I suggest another. If you like it, hooray! This is a product I have used before. I believe it is done by one of the cosmetics giants but I forget which. The name is Oil of Olay. Another is a beauty fluid that is oil free that is done by Nivea. It is known simply as Nivea Beauty Fluid. Good luck and happy, healthy living!
      Your number one fan, Janice Kaguai.

  10. Janice Kaguai

    May 13, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Catherine, hello! I found some more news on Google and I know that you are doing alright. Medicine, when it works is good for anyone who wants to make a complete recovery. If there is anyone who chides you on this, just ask Catherine, if there is ever anyone who does not fall sick? Besides, for your illness, or any other person suffering from an illness, medicine in your body – blood stream, is quickly taken to the parts of the body where it is needed. And it does go to work as soon as it gets there! This is a healthy way of looking at medicine and of course, continuity which is ultimately, why many sick people are cured.

    I hope you don’t feel low or down about the times that you have been under. It happens to everyone. It is something that is part of the field, and the practice of medicine and which is the reason why doctors exist. So there.

    Finally, healthy living. Rest as often as necessary. Stay on the medication course and listen to advice from the doctor. Eat healthily and consider going back to what you enjoyed doing before. Nothing taxing but music, watching your performance in past movies, listening to positive comments about these or being reminded of them, spending time with a good book etc. Even, seeing about all these as well as catching up on the past with Michael Douglas. Finally, there is a magazine I would like to suggest. I am not sure that you have heard of The Reader’s Digest. I think, judging from what I have seen of you in the media, that reading may be one of the things you enjoy doing. You just might like the Digest.

    I wish you a quick recovery, Catherine. Next time you see a bunch of beautiful roses, red, white or pink even yellow, just think that your beauty matches that – which is one of the biggest reasons why you must come back.

    All the best,
    Janice Kaguai.

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