The 38-year-old son of Senator Edward Kennedy and nephew of late president John F. Kennedy said he did not remember waking up and driving his car before dawn Thursday.
He blamed the accident on prescription drugs he had taken.
“I am deeply concerned about my reaction to the medication and my lack of knowledge of the accident that evening. But I do know enough that I know I need help,” the Democratic representative from Rhode Island told a press conference.
“I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police, or being cited for three driving infractions,” said Kennedy.
The Washington Post quoted police sources as saying that Kennedy had drawn attention to himself just before the crash when he nearly drove head-on into a police car.
No injuries were reported in the incident.
Kennedy has denied accounts by a police union official that he might have been drunk.
Kennedy, 38, said he had been fighting chronic addiction and depression since he was a young man and that he underwent treatment last year for addiction to prescription pain medication.
He said he would immediately seek new treatment at the Mayo clinic in Minnesota “to ensure that I can continue on my road to recovery.”
Earlier Kennedy said he had taken a sleep medication and a prescribed anti-nausea drug following a series of late night votes in the House of Representatives.
“Sometime around 2:45 am, I drove the few blocks to the Capitol complex believing I needed to vote,” he said in a statement.
“Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication.”
Over several decades of political and social prominence, the Kennedy family has seldom been out of the news for its political achievement and personal tragedies, many involving drugs, alcohol and the law.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother Robert was murdered in 1968 as he campaigned for the presidency.
Edward Kennedy’s presidential aspirations were ruined when he drove a car off a bridge near Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts in 1969, killing a female passenger.
He was returning from a party.
In 2000 Patrick Kennedy admitted that he had been dealing with depression since he was a teen, had abused cocaine in the past, and had taken anti-depressants.
On April 15 this year he crashed his vehicle into another car in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, according to the New York Daily News.
No charges were filed in that incident.
Courage triggers tributes
In a statement Friday Senator Kennedy lauded his son’s “courage” in dealing with his problems.
“I love Patrick very much and am very proud of him. All of us in the family admire his courage in speaking publicly about very personal issues and fully support his decision to seek treatment,” the senior Kennedy said.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, praised Patrick Kennedy for his “brave statement” admitting his problems.
“Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement today was one of honesty and courage. I hope it will serve as inspiration and encouragement to all the families in America who are facing the challenges of addiction and depression,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“No one in the country has been a better advocate than Patrick Kennedy for the parity of mental health services — to end the discrimination by insurance companies against people struggling with mental illness.”