Detecting the warning signs of depression - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Detecting the warning signs of depression

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

As the nation pauses to remember the life of actor Robin Williams, the tragedy finds local experts raising awareness about depression. Tuesday, a coroner confirmed the actor died by hanging. An assistant found the actor with a belt around his neck.

David Gallagher can relate to the serious effects of depression.

"She woke up every day and she had a challenge, but she made a commitment that she would overcome her challenges and it was hard for her," he said referring to his teenage daughter Cameron.

She died in March while running - a coping mechanism she used to battle depression.

"She felt like people might be talking about her and she had a lot of concerns about that. That slowly evolved into sadness," he said.

She needed serious medical care and treatment.

"Bipolar depression is the most suicidal illness there is," said Dr. Martin Buxton.

He is familiar with the condition actor Robin Williams reportedly suffered from, bi-polar depression.

"They feel so good. They don't think they have a problem but they're up all night. They're calling people, being excessive in spending, sexuality or whatever and it sends up a red flag," Buxton said.

They are symptoms relatives can be on the lookout for in loved ones - especially since bipolar depression can cause a patient to go from one extreme to another.

"You're feeling like a million bucks and terrific and you can wake up the next morning and be in a catastrophic depression. That kind of gap may be very disheartening," Buxton added.

That often leads to tragedy when unmonitored. Though both Cameron and Williams last days were tragic, Cameron died doing something she loved.

"Cameron's condition had me concerned that her last day wasn't going to be a good day," Gallagher said.

He is organizing a race at Byrd Park next month to benefit children battling depression. You can learn more about it and register in advance here.

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