Patrick Kennedy breaks family's silence, opens up about their struggles with addiction

Patrick Kennedy Reveals Family History of Mental Illness and Addiction

The late senator Ted Kennedy's youngest son, Patrick, is breaking the family code of silence.

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He has written a book, "A Common Struggle," which deals with his battles with mental illness and addiction as well as his famous father's struggles.

In the book, he wrote: "My father went on in silent desperation for much of his life, self-medicating and unwittingly passing his unprocessed trauma onto my sister, brother and me."

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Patrick Kennedy
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Patrick Kennedy breaks family's silence, opens up about their struggles with addiction

During an interview with "60 Minutes," host Lesley Stahl asked the former congressman about the quote and inquired: "Do you think he was an alcoholic?"

"You know, I think he definitely had a problem with alcohol. I still right now, Lesley, have trouble talking about this. This is like breaking the family code here. I am now outside the family line," he said.

Stahl also asked about growing up with his mother, Joan.

"It was so tense. She was clearly inebriated and under the influence and she would be walking around in her terry bathrobe," he said.

On Monday morning, Patrick's older brother Ted Kennedy Jr. released a statement saying: "I admire him for his candor about his own challenges. However, I am heartbroken that Patrick has chosen to write what is an inaccurate and unfair portrayal of our family. My brother's recollection of family events and particularly our parents are quite different from my own."

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Patrick reacted to his brother's statement on CBS "This Morning:" "I told this story about my life which I can't separate from my family's life because it is important that all of us break this silence and the shame on these issues."

See photos of JFK through the years:

John F Kennedy (life)
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Patrick Kennedy breaks family's silence, opens up about their struggles with addiction
1927: Headshot portrait of John F Kennedy (1917-1963) at age ten, standing outdoors and wearing a suit with his hair slicked back. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Future President of the United States of America, John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) in London. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
American statesman John F Kennedy, later the 35th President of the United States (right), with Mr Borhum at a garden party at the White House, Washington DC. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1st September 1939: Joe, Kathleen and John F Kennedy, the children of American Ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph P Kennedy, arriving at the Houses of Parliament in London. John later became the 35th President of the United States. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A photo dated 1950's shows John F. Kennedy with his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963), the American president sitting in a rocking chair. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Senator John F Kennedy seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidential elections, which he went on to win. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
President John F. Kennedy speaks on the telephone August 23, 1962 in the Oval Office. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
Senator John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) is given a rousing ovation during his presidential campaign. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963), American president-elect, with his wife Jacqueline (1929 - 1994) at the christening of their son John F Jr. (1960 - 1999) in Washington. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) holds his first press conference, Washington D.C., 28th January 1961. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
17th February 1961: Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994), wife of US President John F Kennedy, and daughter Caroline relax together at home. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1962: US statesman John F Kennedy, 35th president of the USA, making a speech. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963, left) with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1894 - 1986) outside Government House in Hamilton, Bermuda, where they are holding talks, 22nd December 1961. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)
President John F. Kennedy greets wellwishers after a speech May 8, 1963 at the White House. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
9th November 1960: Senator John F Kennedy, the Democratic candidate who has been elected president of the USA. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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