Social worker: depression sufferers need support

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Carlos, who lives at the Recovery House at The Connection, understands all too well what led to actor/comedian Robin Williams to kill himself.

“I thought about suicide several times as an option for where I fell from in essence,” he said. An opiate addiction led to hisown depression. “I completely became another person. I let down my family, my children.”

But after owning up to his substance abuse and mental issue, now has Carlos in rehab. “You know when you can’t look in the mirror, when you’re not the person you were for 27 years,” he said.

Marcie Dimenstein, a licensed social worker at The Connection, a non-profit agency providing community based services, said, “Someone who is very depressed has the same lack of hormones that are being produced by the brain and as addiction so they are both interchangeable.”

Dimenstein added that people like Carlos need a strong support system, to help draw out well hidden raw feelings.

“[They need] to see their weaknesses and strengths, so it takes a long time to stand up and say, ‘This is who I am, I am depressed. I’ve become depressed, I am an alcoholic, I am a drug addict.’” Allison Bassett agreed. She’s the program manager of Recovery House where clients like Carlos are battling similar issues like Robin Williams.

“When they get more stress in their life, or they feel more anxious without knowing exactly the best way to manage, without the right treatment interventions, that’s when the risk is higher for substance dependence or addiction,” she said.

Family and friends, Bassett said, are critical to the recovery process. “Not talking as much, spending a lot more time by themselves, pick up on that, start to ask questions.”

For Carlos, the challenge is lifelong. “Just basically taking your foot off the throttle, you can’t do that. It’s a life disease. There’s no pill that can make it go away.”

For more information about The Connection, log onto www.theconnectioninc.org. Or call 855-435-7955 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the nearest crisis service agency – call 211.

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