Death of Robin Williams Illuminates Depression as a Disease

Robin Williams 1Just as any physical illness is best treated at its early stages, depression is also best treated in its early stages.

The death of Robin Williams led many  to feel that they had lost not only an icon in the country’s entertainment culture, but also a friend that made them laugh but could also shed tears with them. Williams was not only Mork, Mrs. Doubtfire and Genie, but also Patch Adams and John Keating.

For many, however, the death of Williams brings to light not only the loss of a great comedian, actor and entertainer, but also the depths of struggling with depression.

Depression carries with it a stigma, in which those who experience depression are supposed to be different from the rest of the population. When you picture depression, it may carry a face of tears and frustration. In reality, depression can look a lot of different ways.

In the days after Williams’s death, many celebrities have used the opportunity to honor Williams by talking about their own experience with depression. Talking about depression can remove the stigma and give individuals the ability to admit to a loved one that they need help.

When individuals face a stigma attached to a mental disorder, they may be reluctant to tell anyone about their symptoms. Depression can be easy to hide at its early stages. While a person may struggle for weeks on end, they may have times where symptoms subside and they can point to these times to convince themselves and loved ones that everything is okay.

Depression may also feel lonely. If you have depression, you may imagine that only you are struggling with these types of symptoms and that everyone else has it together. However, the World Health Organization says that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. More than half the population will, at some point in their lives, meet criteria for a mental disorder. You are not alone if you struggle with depression.

By the time help is sought, depression may have progressed in its severity and symptoms. Finding the right combination of treatment can be a trial-and-error process. Because it may take weeks for medications to affect symptoms and therapy to begin to work, the process of recovery may take time

If you have had symptoms over a long period of time, they may have escalated to a point where it is difficult to endure a long process of finding the right medication and therapy combination. As a result, it is important to seek out help as soon as it becomes apparent that low moods are becoming problematic.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, contact Family Guidance to guide you through an evaluation to determine whether treatment for depression might be beneficial. Visit the Family Guidance website to learn more about depression as well as the services and treatment options offered.