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 M
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