Rep. Kennedy returns to rehab

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) checked himself into a medical facility Friday.

In a vaguely worded statement released Friday morning, Kennedy, who has a history of drug and mental health issues, said that, after consulting his doctor, he "decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery."

Kennedy has battled bipolar disorder, alcoholism, depression and an addiction to prescription drugs. He has used those experiences to become a leading voice on mental health issues in Congress.

"I hope that in some small way my decision to be proactive and public in my efforts to remain healthy can help remove the stigma that has served as a barrier for many Americans reluctant to get the help they needed," Kennedy said.

Kennedy's father, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), is fighting brain cancer.

In 2006, Rep. Kennedy crashed his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in the early morning, which led to a month-long stint in a treatment center.