Navigation Links
Robin Williams' Death Shines Light on Depression, Substance Abuse
Date:8/12/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The apparent suicide Monday of Academy Award-winning actor and comic star Robin Williams has refocused public attention on depression, its sometimes link to substance abuse and, in tragic cases, suicide.

Williams was last seen alive at his suburban San Francisco home about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to the Marin County coroner's office. Shortly before noon on Monday, the Sheriff's Department received an emergency call from the home, where he was soon pronounced dead. Sheriff's officials said a preliminary investigation ruled the cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation, according to the Associated Press.

Williams, who was 63, had struggled for decades with substance abuse and depression, and routinely made references to those personal battles in his comedy routines.

"Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money," he would quip.

Williams had been dealing with severe depression recently, said his publicist. Early last month, he had checked himself into a rehab facility for substance abuse, according to published reports. His publicist told People magazine at the time that "after working back-to-back projects, Robin is simply taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment [to sobriety], of which he remains extremely proud."

In 2006, he had sought treatment for alcohol addiction at the Hazelden center in Springbrook, Ore., according to published reports.

Despite Williams' well-documented personal battles, mental health experts point to major strides in recent decades in the treatment of people who struggle with depression and substance abuse, which are often twin afflictions.

The most effective treatments are medication and talk therapy, said Dr. Jeff Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in New York City. This dual approach works for most people who are dealing with depression, he said.

"It's extremely difficult to live with depression. The pain is described by people as the worst pain possible. But the majority of people treated for depression get better," he said.

Surprisingly, Borenstein added, there's still a stigma that's often attached by some to depression. But, it's just as much a disease -- not a sign of a personal shortcoming -- as a physical ailment like cancer or heart disease, he said.

"Unfortunately, in our society that [stigma] is still tolerated by some people," Borenstein said. "We no longer accept prejudice against race or religion or sexual orientation, but there are still people who have this prejudice when it's a psychiatric condition," he said.

What's also troubling, Borenstein added, is that too many people with depression don't seek treatment. "That is a major problem in our country," he said. "It's important that people be aware of depression so that they can encourage a loved one to seek treatment."

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., explained that there's often a direct link between depression and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. "Substance abuse is one of the risk factors for suicide, especially if you have a history of depression," he said.

Krakower reiterated that depression is very treatable, though it can sometimes take time.

"It can be frustrating for the patient," he said. "They can go through a lot of different medications before they find one that works. People usually look for immediate gratification, but treating depression can be a lengthy process."

People who are depressed should seek treatment, which is helpful for the vast majority of patients, Krakower emphasized. And, those around them need to be supportive, he said.

For many of Williams' fans, his signature talent was his manic, brilliant brand of comedy. But he also tackled many dramatic film roles, including ones in "Awakenings," "Dead Poets Society" and "What Dreams May Come." He won an Academy Award for his performance as a therapist in the film "Good Will Hunting," and captured three Golden Globes, for "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Fisher King."

More information

To learn more about depression and its treatment, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Jeff Borenstein, M.D., president and CEO, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, New York City; Scott Krakower, D.O., assistant unit chief, psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Associated Press; People


'/>"/>
Copyright©2014 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Dr. Burke Robinson of Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery in Atlanta Recognized As “Top Doctor” by Patients & Peers
2. Global Food Exchange Welcomes D. Scott Robinson and Duane Reed
3. Dr. Robin Fleck Exposes the Ugly Truth About Tattoos
4. Vein Therapy News Magazine Publishes Laser Facelift Article by Dr. Robin Fleck
5. New Procedure of Reviewing Introduced to Ensure Better Information for users by Robin Reviews
6. Dr. Robin Fleck Shares Tips on Preventing Sunburn
7. FDA Probing Safety of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
8. Probing the mechanism of ADAM28-mediated cancer metastasis
9. Riverside and Williamsburg Landing Partner to Offer First of Its Kind Service to Virginians Who Want to Age in Place
10. Williams Rejuva Center Includes Innovative Computer Imaging
11. Malinda Williams Covers Rolling Out Magazine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Robin Williams' Death Shines Light on Depression, Substance Abuse
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Tim ... program serving families of greater Dubuque, IA. The current campaign fundraises for Veteran’s ... discharged veterans. Donations to Veteran’s Freedom Center may now be made here: ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Dr. Benjamin Stong of Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery, LLC ... Stong is double board certified and the only facial plastic surgeon in Atlanta to ... Non-surgical therapies such as stem cells can be used to provide stabilization to hair ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , ... (PRWEB) May 05, 2016 , ... Talent ... acquisition startup, HireNurses, on the eve of National Nurses Week (May 6-12). ... and healthcare employers. With their enrollment into the Talent Tech Lab Virtual Incubation program, ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... VisualDx ... Android devices. VisualDx is the first point of care diagnostic support system ... medicine. The system speeds diagnosis, therapy decisions and patient education for emergency ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ACLS ... to announce its new referral program, giving participants incentive for spreading the word ... community, and we know many professionals share resources with their friends and colleagues,” ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... PUNE, India , May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... report spreads across 154 pages, profiling 09 key ... It is a professional and in-depth study on ... providing a basic overview of the industry including ... Insulin Needles market analysis is provided for the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Axiogenesis has acquired a major investment from Sino-German High-Tech Fund to further expand product development, strengthen ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160503/362921 ... ... ... ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016   BIOTRONIK , ... today announced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval ... that provides heart failure patients with access to ... also have remote monitoring with daily automatic transmission ... heart rate in response to physiological demands. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: