Tears of a clown: Comedians and depression - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tears of a clown: Comedians and depression

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Robin Williams had a long history of depression and addiction, and experts say he's not the only comedian hiding his sadness behind the smiles.

Few people could light up a stage like Robin Williams, but experts say comedians, much like everyday people, often mask their sadness behind smiles.

"I think comedians, they're really no different than anybody else. At the end of the day it's just more high profile," Confidential Recovery CEO Scott Silverman said.

Confidential Recovery specializes in substance abuse and depression. Silverman wishes he could have spoken to Williams before his death.

"I'd look him in the eye and say 'Let's go talk to somebody. As a matter of fact, let me hold your hand, and let's do this together,'" he said.

According to Williams' publicist, the Academy Award winner was struggling with severe depression, and his bouts with drugs and alcohol are well documented.

Silverman is hoping the Williams tragedy will be a teachable moment for anyone suffering from depression. The key is that first step, and reaching out for help.

"Millions would have helped him, but not many would be able to look at him and see it. Maybe he's been hiding out, I don't know," Silverman said.

With stardom comes fame, fortune, and a punishing pace. By all accounts, Robin Williams was a workaholic, which could have been a symptom of depression. Silverman says it's possible he just didn't know how to slow down.

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