Robin Williams Deadly Depression
Mental health is still one of the least understood areas of medicine. How could such an outwardly happy and successful man be struggling so badly?
Robin Williams was beloved by America, and yet he felt deeply alone. His apparent suicide was likely the culmination of a brutal daily battle with severe depression that he shared with millions.
On screen or on stage, he was the most vivacious, happy presence, but a debilitating mental illness like depression can eat away at your confidence from within. Gradually you can lose control of your thoughts.
If this cherished and celebrated star felt alone, imagine how isolated the average sufferer can become, locked in a struggle against depression with little support and only Americas broken health-care system to fall back on.
Depression can manifest in a number of formsa sad mood, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, fluctuation in weight, psychomotor agitation or retardation, fatigue, inappropriate guilt, difficulty with concentration, as well as repeated thoughts of death. It is important to recognize that depression is more than just one, or even a few, bad days with these symptoms. The American Psychiatric Association states that five or more of the above symptoms must be present for a continuous period of at least two weeks. For now, forget the clinical definition of depression, and lets take a step back to examine the bigger picture.
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Robin Williams’ Widow: ‘it Was Not Depression’ That Killed Him
Susan Williams gives first interview since her husbands death last year and reveals the actor had a debilitating brain disease called Lewy body dementia
First published on Tue 3 Nov 2015 16.17 GMT
When comedian Robin Williams hanged himself in his California home in August 2014, the news of his death was met with incomprehension around the world.
The factors behind his suicide have been speculated upon endlessly as colleagues and friends of Williams came forward to allege that depression contributed to his severe mental state. But on Tuesday, his widow Susan set the record straight.
It was not depression that killed Robin, Susan told People magazine in one of her first interviews since losing her husband. Depression was one of lets call it 50 symptoms, and it was a small one.
Instead, she argued that it was a debilitating brain disease called diffuse Lewy body dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies that took hold of Williams, and probably led him to suicide.
Frequently misdiagnosed, DLB is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimers and causes fluctuations in mental status, hallucinations and impairment of motor function.
Susan told People that the disease started to take hold of the actor in the last year before his death, with the symptoms worsening in the months before he took his own life.
If Robin was lucky, he wouldve had maybe three years left, Susan added. And they wouldve been hard years.
Wrestling With His Own Health
Its unknown how much of an impact Robin Williams depression had on his life or how long it affected him prior to his death. Whats known is that he was struggling with some other mental health conditions in the years leading up to the end.
In 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. After his death, an autopsy found that this was a misdiagnosis the actual condition was a lesser known but highly common affliction called;Lewy body dementia. In Lewy body dementia, protein deposits build up in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, thinking and motor skills. Also called dementia with Lewy bodies , its a disease that causes drastic fluctuations in a sufferers mood, cognitive ability and mental state.
Its common for people with dementia to experience depression. Its also common for people whove just received a serious diagnosis to experience depression. Its likely that Robin Williams mental state, whether or not he was struggling with his mental health previous to the onset of his degenerative condition, began to worsen as he started to have difficulty with basic functions.
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Did Depression Lead Robin Williams To Commit Suicide
Depression has been one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in America for quite some time. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, rates of depression throughout the country have more than tripled among members of every demographic.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, many men and women who suffer from depression simultaneously suffer from a co-occurring disorder like anxiety or substance abuse. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and nearly 1 million men and women take their lives every year because they are left untreated.
Develop Rational Thinking Skills
Although depression is a mood disorder, underlying troubled feelings are troubling thoughts that are often exaggerated and distorted. Developing skills to identify the irrational thoughts that precipitate irrational feelings is a crucial key to defeating depression. Challenging irrational thoughts is the cornerstone of the most popular and effective type of therapy for depression: Cognitive Behavior Therapy .;Learning CBT skills from a variety of self-help books and resources widely available, such as David Burns, The Feeling Good Handbook, offers practical tips on how to change thoughts to change and even save your life. Of course, individual therapy with a CBT-oriented therapist can provide much needed support and structure to learn how to limit cognitive distortions. For example, thoughts such as Im a loserare depression-producing, and can be replaced with less black and white self-statements that are more factual such as I am disappointed with myself.Turning hopeless and extreme self-statements into more mature and healthier self-talk is one of the best methods to avoid living in a depressive funk.; It takes practice, however, and for many it does not come easy to think in ways that are not self-defeating.
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Robin Williams Widow Shares His Battle With Lewy Body Dementia
“It was not depression that killed Robin,” Susan told People, whose website published her quotes Tuesday. “Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one.”
Also known as Dementia with Lewy bodies , Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia “leads to a decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function” that can cause hallucinations and impair muscle control, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease intensified in the last year of Robin’s life, when he experienced crippling anxiety attacks and a motor-skill “miscalculation” that bloodied his head, People reported.
” present themselves like a pinball machine,” Susan told the magazine. “You don’t know exactly what you’re looking at.”
Robin died Aug. 11, 2014; his death was ruled a suicide. Medical professionals couldn’t determine that he had DLB until his autopsy, according to People, but Susan who’s raising awareness about the disease to try to save the afflicted didn’t blame the doctors.
“I’ve spent this last year trying to find out what killed Robin,” Susan added. “To understand what we were fighting, what we were in the trenches fighting and one of the doctors said, ‘Robin was very aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it.’ didn’t know. He didn’t know.”
People’s extended version of Susan’s interview will appear in the print edition that arrives on newsstands Friday.
Agape Treatment Center And Dual Diagnosis Recovery
Agape Treatment Center offers a comprehensive dual diagnosis recovery program designed to help men and women of all ages who are struggling with substance abuse and mental illnesses like depression. We understand that for recovery to be achieved, all underlying issues must be addressed simultaneously. We have a combination of therapists and psychiatrists on staff who work closely with each client, identifying all underlying issues and treating and medicating them as necessary.
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Deal With Past Trauma And Insecurities
It is curious that one of the worlds funniest men was by many media reports actually a painfully shy, insecure and quiet child who greatly lacked self confidence and self esteem. The question is had he dealt with his early childhood insecurity or was he still defined by it?
All too often, no matter how successful someone becomes, they still define themselves as they did in their early school years, and no matter how successful they are, self-doubt and insecurity still define them. It is like a thin person still feeling like the chubby kid in grade school. When individuals find that old self-doubts remain despite mastery in the world, addressing those early childhood pains is essential.; Sure, we can not change what happened to us, but we can change how we deal with whats happened to us. Otherwise, what you resist, will persist, and old messages will keep recycling that brings distortion and confusion into our present day. ;Whether Robins Williams had some closure on pain from his past is unknown, but it might be that a youth spent in painful shyness and insecurity might have never really stopped defining him at his core.
Robin Williams’ Son Opens Up About Father’s Mental Health Saying The Star Was Frustrated And Very Uncomfortable Before His Death
Robin Williams’ son Zak has shared details about his late father, opening up about the actors’ mental health struggles. Zak sat down for an interview with “The Genius Life” podcast on Wednesday, his dad’s birthday.;
Both Zak and the host of the podcast, Max Lugavere, lost a parent to Lewy body disease, a rare disease with symptoms that resemble Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Williams died by suicide in 2014 at 63 years old. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but an autopsy showed he had Lewy body disease.;
Zak said he saw “frustration” in his father when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“What he was going through didn’t match one to one many Parkinson’s patients’…experience,” said Zak, 38. “He felt frustrated.”
“There was a focus issue, that frustrated him. There were issues associated with how he felt. And also from a neurological perspective, he didn’t he feel great,” said Zak. “There was just more anxiety and depression and just things he was experiencing and talking to me about that made me realize he was very uncomfortable.”
“At least from my lens, what I found was someone who was having challenges performing his craft. And that was really irritating for him,” said Zak. “When you’re performer, it goes beyond pride in what you’re performing, it’s your livelihood.”
Zak said being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was “a period for him of intense searching and frustration.”
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Robin Williams Mental Illness Sufferer Dead At 63 Due To Suicide
When a person chooses suicide, its hard to accept that choice.
Comedian and award-winning actor Robin Williams apparently made that choice earlier this morning. Robin Williams has long suspected to be a sufferer of either depression or bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness where the person fluctuates between episodes of extreme energy, focus and productivity and severe depression. Apparently, he was in one of the episodes of depression when he took his own life.
We mourn his loss.
The coroner said that Williams death was a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.
Williams had long struggled with addiction and mental illness. ) Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes, Williams told Terry Gross on the Fresh Air NPR radio show in 2006. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah. )
According to news accounts:
Robin Williams passed away this morning, said Mara Buxbaum, president of PR firm. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.
His wife, Susan Schneider, issued a brief statement: This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken, she said.
Different Types Of Depression And Mental Illnesses
There are numerous different types of depression, and people will be affected by mental illnesses differently. The most common depressive disorder in America is known as major depressive disorder . MDD affects 7.1 percent of the adult population, which equates to over 17.3 million men and women.
Men are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, and adolescents are more likely than adults to suffer from depression. 11.3 percent of adults suffer from at least one major depressive episode during their lifetimes, and 16.9 percent of adolescents report experiencing at least one episode before 18. Ive been suffering from depression; know that you are not alone. There are also numerous treatment options available, and no matter how severe a depressive disorder is, recovery is always possible.
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Things You Need To Know:
New Robin Williams Documentary Focuses On His Unknown Disease And Death
Most remember the tragic death of actor and comedian, Robin Williams in 2014. A new documentary, Robinâs Wish, explores the legendary funnymanâs demise from a disease most know little about.
The film is a portrait of Williams’s endearing spirit, and what really happened to one of the greatest entertainers of all time. ;
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Addiction Is A Chronic Disease
In an interview in 2006, Williams stated: Its addiction not caused by anything, its just there. It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, Its fine now, Im OK. Then, the next thing you know, its not OK. Robin Williams addiction was a constant struggle for him and these words have become familiar for too many. They remind all of us that recovery from addiction and mental illness is a lifelong endeavor.
This may be the most valuable lesson of all to take away from Robin Williams addiction tragedy. Drug addiction and alcoholism must be treated like chronic diseases that need a lifetime of treatment. If a person was suffering from another chronic condition such as cancer, diabetes or arthritis they wouldnt just decide they were all healed and cease taking medication, because doing so would have severe health effects. The same applies to addiction. Our drug and alcohol detox programs in Palm Beach work with patients to remove their dependence on the drug and also to provide them with tools to help them achieve long-term sobriety.
Death Of Robin Williams Shines Spotlight On Parkinsons And Depression
The suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams last month and the subsequent revelation that he was newly diagnosed with Parkinsons disease gave rise to a flurry of rumour, speculation and confusion about the relationship between Parkinsons and depression. Parkinson Society Canada and our regional partners responded to many calls from media, individuals living with Parkinsons and their family members.
The reality is that depression is one of the known non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease; as many as 50 per cent of people with Parkinsons experience the symptoms of clinical depression at some stage of the disease. Unfortunately, the stigma of mental illness, in addition to others perceptions of Parkinsons disease, and lack of information about the connection between depression and this neurological disease, keeps many people from seeking and receiving help for their physical and mental symptoms.
Although living with Parkinsons presents its challenges, and the diagnosis can be frightening at first, depression in people with Parkinsons may be caused by the chemical and physical changes in the area of the brain that affect mood, as well as movement. In fact, depression may be an early symptom of the disease, with some people experiencing depression up to a decade or more before experiencing any motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
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Inside Anthony Bourdains Manic Final Days And Public Humiliation
The activist and entrepreneur founded PYM, a mental wellness company that specializes in neuro-nutrition. It was his battle with alcoholism that prompted his exploration of the subject, leading him to learn more about how nutrient deficiency impacts the brain and psychological health, such as the neurotransmitter Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, supplements of which made all the difference in his recovery. It was like night and day, Williams said.
Low levels of GABA in the brain have been associated with increased levels of anxiety and mood disorders. The amino acid has been nicknamed natures Valium by some, according to Lugavere.
PYMs products and other forms of supplementation are not cures, Williams insisted, and should be used in tandem with a healthy diet, exercise and therapy, for some. They dont solve for anxiety, but they try to address the root fixes.
His goal as an advocate is to encourage people to think more about mental health in terms of physiological health: People need to understand what they need for their bodies.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at;.