San Angelo, TX - What a psychiatrist at Shannon Clinic says has been found in people who have committed suicide is that they have lower than normal concentrations of serotonin.
In my initial discussion with Cliff Richey--a retired tennis pro--on depression, he also described this chemical imbalance as the reason for depression.
Serotonin impacts an individual's motor skills and emotions [Pictures showing the difference between a "normal" brain and a "depressed" brain are in the video story].
The treatment of which, once diagnosed, can be handled with a combination of counseling and medication.
Dr. Lindy Bankes is a psychiatrist at Shannon Clinic who hopes people suffering from the symptoms of depression discussed in part 1 of this report can step forward to talk to anyone about their symptoms.
"I can't imagine not being able to get out of bed every day and feeling hopeless," Dr. Bankes explains, "like you don't see the point and try to fight through that because you were scared to ask for help."
Studies suggest it takes about 8 years for someone to step forward with what they believe are symptoms of depression.
Dr. Bankes says there's a small percentage of children receiving treatment for depression--but says a lot of adults in recent studies have suggested feeling the symptoms during their childhood.
As far as the link between depression and suicide goes--it's a close one. With about 2/3rds of those individuals who commit suicide being reported as "depressed" at the time of their deaths.
Meanwhile, a group in San Angelo titled the "LOSS Team of Tom Green County" aims to help guide those family members and friends through the grieving process following the suicide death of a loved one.
Organizers with the group say one person committing suicide can affect at least 60 people that person knows.
The ones closest to that person become at higher risk of committing suicide.
"The one thing I hear when talking to people in this regard is they feel guilty," says Peggy Mathias--a LOSS volunteer and counselor at West Texas Guidance & Counseling. "They just think there's something they could have done but when they hear other people saying the same thing they realize everyone feels guilty."
Holly Conlin is another volunteer at LOSS and dealt with the loss of a loved one to suicide--her grandmother committed suicide just a few years ago.
She says in the grieving process--her family was alone. She hopes to not allow others to be alone while they're grieving, especially given the stigmas she says are attached to individuals who committed suicide.
"I can help the families accomplish things maybe they couldn't accomplish on their own or I can help them through their first steps so they can know what to do after the death of their loved one," says Conlin.
Granted, help can also come in the form of friends and family--as long as the individual is willing to be open with their condition.
"It is a medical disease. There is help. There is treatment. 80 to 90% of the people who suffer will ultimately get better and lead a good life."
PET Scan of a Normal and Depressed brain used in this report is Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
For more information on depression: https://shannonhealth.netreturns.biz/HealthInfo/Topic.aspx?TopicID=2e520c20-de96-4315-a6c8-10882efca1ad
Part 1 of this report can be found at the following link: http://www.conchovalleyhomepage.com/news/local-news/the-story-of-two-concho-valley-residents-and-their-battle-with-depression/716717572