Robin Williams and the reality of depression

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Robin Williams and the reality of depression

HOUSTON, TX – He lost his battle with depression but ironically Robin Williams’ death may help the millions that suffer from the same disease.  And make no mistake, depression is a disease, but unlike cancer and heart disease, there’s a stigma attached to mental illness.

“People need to understand, depression is an illness of the brain. It is not an illness of your week will that you should be able to get over it. Believe me if people could get better no one in this world would choose to be depressed. It’s not an illness anybody would choose” says Dr. Prashant Gajwani, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UT Health Science Center.

If you’ve had a bad week and you’re sad the Texans lost, that’s not the type of depression we’re talking about.  “We all have sad moments, sad days. Clinical depression is when you’ve had that sad feeling that has lasted almost every day for the last two weeks or longer” says Dr. Gajwani.

One out of five people will suffer from clinical depression in their lifetime. So the odds are pretty good you know someone fighting this battle.

Here’s what to look for says Dr. Gajwani, “The signs of depression are usually a person starts isolating themselves. They stop enjoying life. They’re  not involved in daily activity. They may have poor sleep. They may lose weight. They may have difficulty with concentration.

Despite the popularity of the meme depicting Williams (the Genie) as “Free” suicide is not the answer. “There are lots of treatment options available. There are plenty, plenty and plenty of hope.”