Did Parkinson's Push Robin Williams Over the Edge?

Robin Williams - LocateADoc.comThe tragic loss of comedian Robin Williams thrust depression to the forefront of the news. After his suicide, it was revealed that he was in treatment for Parkinson's Disease in its early stages. Now it seems the question looms, did the disease push Robin Williams over the edge?

Depression is common in Parkinson's Disease

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, around 60 percent of those diagnosed with the condition also experience mild to moderate depression. Those who haven't had depression previously were shown to have brain chemical changes that lead to a depressive state, so it certainly could aggravate those who were already clinically depressed.

How Parkinson's Disease affects the brain

There are several areas of the brain that involve mood control that are affected by the condition. Parkinson's Disease makes the frontal lobe less active, which is an important area for regulating mood. Antidepressant therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to help those who have Parkinson's regulate their moods and control their depression. It is unknown what therapy Robin Williams was on for his depression and his Parkinson's Disease.

How depression affects Parkinson's patients

Depressed patients were found to have a lesser quality of life and more trouble with their daily activities than those who were not depressed. They were more apt to start Parkinson's medications that dealt with their motor symptoms earlier than those who were not depressed. Those that had difficulties found benefit in getting treatment for the depression even more than getting treatment for the motor symptoms.

What depression feels like

Depression is more than sadness, although it can incorporate it. Depression can also be hopelessness, grief, frustration, discouragement, even anxiety and anger. Talk with a licensed care professional to see if you are having symptoms that are under the clinical depression umbrella. Early treatment can have major benefits in quality of life and mood.

The world lost a tremendous talent and a beacon of goodwill and humor when Robin Williams hung himself in his home late August. What triggered his suicide isn't known, but his past depression diagnosis and his newly diagnosed Parkinson's Disease could have lead to a state of mind he couldn't shake.

Read more about depression in our resources section.

Photo By Eva Rinaldi [http://goo.gl/N8W0V7]


Further Reading

  • What is with the holidays? It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year! We are supposed to be merry and thankful, yet all too often; we become depressed, anxious and stressed out. Nevertheless, if Ebenezer Scrooge can turn his “Bah, humbug!” feeling around, why can’t we?

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep and staying positive continue to be the prescription to better health and lower risks of depression, but recent research in Europe suggests that a quick Botox jab could also give your mood a boost.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that affects millions of people each years as temperatures drop. Even those who are not diagnosed as having SAD by a mental health professional may experience symptoms including include chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety and cravings for carbohydrates.  However, light therapy has been used to treat the 'winter blues' for several decades, providing some hope for those who need to brighten up their days and enjoy a brighter outlook.