Local Expert Speaks on Depression and Suicide
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – What drives a person with depression – like actor and comic Robin Williams – to commit suicide?
“Depression makes one feel that life is definitely not worth living. That they don’t deserve to live. That they’re failures, and that they’re a burden on their family and friends,” says Dr. Henry Nasrallah, chair of neurology and psychiatry at Saint Louis University.
“Death becomes a relief, almost. A way out of this tremendous pain,” he says. “Depression’s extremely painful. It’s mental pain, which many people describe as worse than physical pain – when they have both types of pain.”
Nasrallah says he believes Williams suffered from bipolar depression, “where you have periods when you’re high and up and active and joking and jovial.”
Bipolar depression tends to be more severe, more chronic and more disabling, and it leads to more suicides than unipolar depression, he says.
Bipolar depression is three times more common in men than women.
Nasrallah says some cases are more difficult than others, but doctors can easily treat about 90 percent of people with depression.
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