Depression: fighting the stigma - FOX 13 News

Death of Robin Williams

Depression: fighting the stigma

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Unfortunately, depression still carries a strong stigma, preventing many people from getting the treatment they desperately need. But maybe, in some way, the death of actor Robin Williams might change that.

The hope is the public will become more aware that depression is a mental illness. There are signs to look for. Most importantly, it can be treated.

Williams' suicide has shocked and shaken millions of people. Many have asked: "Why would the successful actor and comedian take his own life?"

Williams had battled periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression.

Dr. Rene Zweig, psychologist, explains that depression has nothing to do with how much money you have or what you own. It is a mental illness that affects everyone in every walk of life. The doctor says for someone who has had a life history of depression, the illness can be debilitating and overwhelming.

Zweig says depression can lead to hopelessness. She says a negative stigma is still attached to mental illness. Because of the supposed taboo, people don't talk about. But, she says, there are signs that someone is suffering from depression: a loss of interest, withdrawal, negative feelings, and gray feelings over all their thoughts.

Depression is highly treatable. She says medication and psychotherapy are most effective.

Dr. Zweig recommends two websites for treatment and to access help:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov

http://www.abct.org

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