Doctor: Depression is a disease

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The apparent suicide of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams comes at a shock to many.

FOX10 News is digging deeper to bring you the crucial information you need to know about the seriousness of depression.

Psychiatrists at AltaPointe Health Care Systems in Mobile tell FOX10 that depression is a disease, and can affect anyone.

“Unfortunately there’s still a stigma in psychiatry that depression is a form of weakness and that’s why it’s really important to understand that depression is a disease, just like any other disease in the body, it’s not that you have a weak character, or weak soul, it’s unfortunately something that can strike anyone,” said Dr. Bradley Sadler with Alta Pointe.

The science behind and symptoms of depression

Dr. Sadler explained that depression symptoms happen when neurotransmitters in the brain do not function properly. Researchers are still unsure exactly why that happens, but they have a few ideas.

“Like any disease, we know that there is a genetic component, we know that depression runs in families, we also know that your environment can set you up for depression as well, things that happen to you throughout life can bring out a genetic vulnerability to depression,” said Dr. Sadler.

Dr. Sadler told FOX10 about some of the symptoms of depression.

“When people feel depressed, they often can’t sleep, they have trouble with their appetite, they often will have negative thoughts about themselves,” said Dr. Sadler. “They’ll feel like a burden to friends or family.”

If you feel like someone you know might have depression, doctors recommend you let them know that you’re there for them, and encourage them to get help.

A local crisis hotline you can call for someone who might be at-risk, is the Alta Pointe Health Systems Crisis Hotline at 251-450-2211.


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