After the alleged suicide of Robin Williams, reports are the actor was recently suffering from major depressive disorder.
The apparent cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation, authorities said. According to his publicist, Williams had been battling severe depression.
Police said that Williams was found unconscious around noon in his home in Tiburon, California, near San Francisco.
Depression is common, serious, yet treatable. It is estimated that one in about seven Americans will suffer from clinical depression (Major Depressive Disorder-MDD) during their lifetimes. Over 60% of those have moderate or severe impairment due to their condition.
Unfortunately, stigma still exists surrounding MDD. Often it’s easier to admit going to drug rehab for treatment than to a psychiatric facility for treatment of depression. Experts believe that MDD is a “brain disorder” not indicative of “weakness of will or character flaw,” but this misconception keeps many sufferers of depression from seeking treatment. As we saw with Robin Williams, it is very possible for others to not know about the presence of depression.
Treatment for depression (including psychotherapy, medication and other treatments) can be very effective, but in some cases is not enough. Suicide can be an outcome of depression with devastating effects on not only the victim, but family members and friends. Suicide continues to exist in a family long after the act.
There are many sources to turn to for information. One such source on major depressive disorder is psychiatrist Harry Croft M.D., author of I Always Sit With My Back to The Wall, and Treating Your Depression: Finding Light at the End of the Tunnel