We at Fairwinds Treatment Center were heartbroken to learn that comic genius Robin Williams has passed away at age 63 of an apparent suicide. Williams reportedly struggled with addiction issues throughout much of his life and had recently been battling a severe bout of clinical depression. As addiction treatment professionals, we know the profound toll that mental illness and substance abuse can take on the heart, mind and body, and we are saddened to see such an enormously talented and kind person taken from us too soon.
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between," President Barack Obama said in a statement from the White House. "But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets."
Unfortunately, no one is immune to mental health issues and the substance abuse struggles that often accompany them. Just yesterday we discussed on this blog the strong link between depression, addiction and suicide risk. That's why treating a person's substance abuse problem alone is not enough. Fairwinds Treatment Center's Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef uses a dual diagnosis methodology to address both a patient's chemical dependencies and any mental, emotional and/or psychological problems that may have triggered or worsened them. This multi-pronged approach combines clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to help patients find a place of peace and healing.