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Invisible Children 'Kony 2012' activist Jason Russell diagnosed with brief reactive psychosis

Jason Russell of Invisible Children speaks at TEDxSanDiego in December 2011
Jason Russell of Invisible Children speaks at TEDxSanDiego in December 2011
Photo by sean dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons

Jason Russell, the Kony 2012 filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children found undressed and behaving wildly in San Diego last week, has been initially diagnosed with brief reactive psychosis, according to his wife.

He was hospitalized following the acute episode which occurred after his video about African warlord Joseph Kony went from relative obscurity to worldwide exposure in a matter of hours. 

Triggered by extreme stress, exhaustion, and dehydration, symptoms of the broad diagnosis can manifest as hallucinations, unusual speech and other unusual behavior consistent with witness accounts.

The condition causes "temporary debilitation, but in general people have good recoveries," said Dr. Stephen Marder, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. Doctors say brief reactive psychosis can also signal a more serious mental illness in some cases.

Said wife Danica Russell in a letter posted to the Invisible Children blog, "Jason will get better. He has a long way to go, but we are confident that he will make a full recovery," noting that it may be months until he returns to work. 

She also restated the episode was not drug or alcohol related, and that he is seeking help

He is, and will remain, under hospital care for a number of weeks; and after that, the recovery process could take months before he is fully able to step back into his role with Invisible Children. During that time, we will focus not on a speedy recovery, but a thorough one.

On Jason’s behalf, keep your attention turned to the end of Africa’s longest running conflict, and setting a precedent for all future injustice.

Invisible Children has been criticized financially by some, and accused of over-simplifying the decades-long conflict, by others.

The organization acknowledges there are many nuances to the struggle, and sees the video campaign as the initial entry point to begin to understand the situation.

They also contend that more than 80 percent of spending directly benefits the cause of stopping Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.