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R.I.P. Robin Williams: The sad and harsh reality about depression

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Academy award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Tiburon, California.

The Marin County Sheriff's Office revealed that on August 11, at 12:00 pm local time, emergency personnel found the actor unconscious and not breathing. Williams was declared dead at 12:02 pm. The sheriff's office revealed that the actor may have committed suicide.

"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings," said Susan Schneider, Williams' wife, in a written statement on Monday afternoon. "On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."

The 63-year-old actor, acclaimed for essaying roles in films like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, The World According to Garp and more, was "battling severe depression of late" and had also spent time at a rehabilitation facility this summer to continue being sober.

In 2010, Williams had admitted in an interview to The Guardian that he felt "alone and afraid" and, as a result, had turned to alcohol to seek solace, thinking it would help him. It is ironical, that the comedian who lit up the lives of many with laughter was unable to battle his inner demons.

Studies have shown that nearly one third of people who suffer from depression also fight alcohol addiction. Individuals who are suffering from depression are more susceptible and vulnerable to seek comfort in alcohol.

Depression is also known as the debilitation syndrome, a depressive disorder which takes away from individuals their memory, energy, concentration abilities and restorative sleep. The disorder triggers a state of suffering which is more acute than any physical form of pain.

Depression is also neurotoxic and blocks the levels of BDNF, which is an important neural growth hormone. Ultimately, the disorder is instrumental in the demise of neurons in one's reasoning and critical memory zones in the brain, which include the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex. To put it succinctly, depression results in brain damage.

Clinical depression can persist for months. Those battling the disorder are often met with indifference or it is presumed that they are merely sad. Many a times, grappling with the disorder can get so severe that people commit suicide.

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