Robin williams mentally ill

Robin Williams Would Have Been 70 This Year, Here's What We Know About Lewy Body Dementia, Suicide and Parkinson's

On July 21, actor and comedic genius Robin Williams would have turned 70. Williams not only amplified and brought awareness to the life-changing, prevalent disease known as Lewy Body Dementia, but his passing brought much needed attention to the importance of mental health and the non-movement symptoms of depression and anxiety that can accompany a neurodegenerative disease.

Nearly seven years after his passing, what do we know about Lewy Body Dementia? How can we help people with a neurological disease experiencing suicidal thoughts?  

What is Lewy Body Dementia? 

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), also known as Dementia with Lewy Bodies, is a progressive brain disorder that is diagnosed when cognitive decline is an early symptom. It can also be diagnosed when cognitive decline and motor symptoms begin and develop together. 

“Lewy Body Dementia is a common type of dementia — it is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia behind Alzheimer’s,” said Jennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS, section chief of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and a Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. “It is thought to affect 1.4 million people in the U.S. but is not widely recognized. With greater education and awareness, with Lewy Body Dementia including both Dementia with Lewy Body and Parkinson’s disease (PD) dementia, we can start to change that landscape.”

What is the difference between Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia?

Lewy Body Dementia is a term used for both Parkinson’s disease dementia and Lewy Body Dementia. They have some things in common, but their progression and treatment are different. 

While many people with Parkinson’s can experience cognitive changes, it is important to know that not everyone with Parkinson’s will develop dementia. “When we see more severe cognitive changes, particularly when they affect someone’s function or ability to act independently for activities of daily living, their work or hobbies, we think of that as being a form of dementia,” said Dr. Goldman.

“With Parkinson’s dementia, the motor symptoms precede the dementia. In dementia with Lewy Body the initial core symptom is dementia — cognitive changes are early, and motor features, if present, occur either after the onset of dementia or concurrently,” said Dr. Goldman. 

Fight For a Diagnosis

Before Robin Williams was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, it was reported that he had been experiencing paranoia, confusion, insomnia, constipation and lacking the ability to smell. For many, the wide range of early symptoms — not all related to brain function — makes Lewy Body Dementia difficult to diagnose. 

Dr. Goldman urges patients to fight to find their diagnosis. “Continue to seek the answers and seek out a specialist to help identify the cause of the cognitive issues or type of dementia,” said Dr. Goldman. “The right doctor can change one’s management, prognosis, and eligibility for participating in research studies. It’s important to have the best understanding of the disease for the chance to have the best outcomes.

Depression and Suicide

People with neurological conditions, like Parkinson’s, are at higher risk for suicide, according to a study published in in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2020. Depression can be a common symptom for both PD and LBD. 

People living with Parkinson's benefit most from a comprehensive, team-based healthcare approach that includes a mental health professional. With a team in place, should depression or suicidal thoughts occur, you have an established relationship with a professional you trust. However, it is never too late to add a mental health professional to your care team. 

If you or your loved one is having thoughts of suicide:

  • Find the resource that works for you: 24-hour suicide prevention hotlines can help, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Seek professional help: Find a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker you can trust and lean on.  
  • Stay engaged: It can be easy for people with Parkinson’s to distance themselves. Try to connect with family and friends, schedule regular phone calls, seek out a support group or wellness class. 
  • Build your support crew: call the Parkinson's Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) for help finding a local or online support group. 

If you are a care partner or family member, learn about suicide warning signs and how you can help here.  

Ongoing Hope

There are treatment options for Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Health care teams are finding that the most effective approach is a combination of medication, physical and mental exercises, and incorporating a mental health professional as part of a care team. 

“There is quite a bit of research going on in Lewy Body Dementia,” said Dr. Goldman. “Researchers are trying to understand why it occurs, and whether there are differences between Parkinson’s disease dementia and Lewy Body despite the fact that they share many clinical symptoms and pathology. Ongoing research ranges from trying to predict or detect early changes in people who might go on to develop Lewy Body Dementia all the way to studying different treatments — from medications to newer trials starting to look at the roles of mental and physical exercises.”

More Resources

The Parkinson’s Foundation believes in empowering the Parkinson’s disease community through education. Learn more: 

  • Podcast Episode 87: What is Lewy Body Dementia and How Does it Relate to Parkinson’s?
  • Lewy Body Dementia Association
  • Dementia & Parkinson’s
  • Caregiver Corner: Lewy What? Explaining Lewy Body Dementia
  • Suicide and Parkinson’s

Contact the Parkinson's Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) for more information about any of these topics and Parkinson’s. 

Robin Williams, Mental Illness Sufferer, Dead at 63 Due to Suicide

When a person chooses suicide, it’s 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 (mania) 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. ((An article on This Emotional Life noted that Williams “use[d] the manic and depressive cycles of his bipolar disorder to produce comedic genius on and off screen.” )) “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 the same account, he also denied he was ever diagnosed with depression. ‘When Gross asked specifically if he had been diagnosed with clinical depression, Williams answered: “No clinical depression, no. No. I get bummed, like I think a lot of us do at certain times.”‘ Speculation about the specific diagnosis he may have qualified for — whether it was depression or bipolar disorder — has never been confirmed by Williams himself. ))

According to news accounts:

“Robin Williams passed away this morning,” said Mara Buxbaum, president of [Williams’] 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.

Suicide is an insidious choice due to the lies that depression tells us. When a person is suffering from severe depression, as apparently Williams was, it can tell that person, “Hey, you’d be better off dead. Life isn’t going to get any better.”

And sadly, sometimes people listen. Even brilliant, accomplished individuals such as Robin Williams.

Williams is best known as a comedian who made his name first in stand-up, then in TV on the hit show Mork & Mindy, and later with movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, and Good Will Hunting, where he won an Oscar for his role as a therapist.

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is most-commonly treated through a combination of psychotherapy and medications. People who limit their treatment or stop taking medications may be at higher risk for the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, such as mania or depression. Most people with bipolar disorder need lifelong treatment for the concern, as there is no cure for it.

Some people with bipolar disorder feel that the medications commonly prescribed for the disorder make them feel like they’re “living in a fog,” or that all their emotions lack any sort of depth. For these kinds of reasons, some people choose not to keep taking medications to treat the disorder.

Suicide is a common symptom of severe, clinical depression. When properly treated, the feelings of suicide often remit as the depression lifts. But even under treatment, sometimes people choose to take their own life.

While we may never understand why someone who enjoyed so much family and success as Robin Williams did might take their own life, we can appreciate the body of work he left behind. He lit up many people’s lives with his humor, infectious energy, and poignant roles.

Robin Williams will be missed.

Editorial note: We acknowledge Williams himself has never stated, to our knowledge, that he had been formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression. Yet given his behaviors and symptoms, it seems far more likely he suffered from bipolar disorder — of which depression is a very significant component. News accounts saying he suffered from depression don’t appear to be substantiated by Williams’ own statements on the issue.

8/12/2014 2:30pm Update: The Marin County Coroner’s office has now stated that Williams was seeking treatment for depression.

If you are feeling suicidal, please read this first. Then if you’re in the U.S., call 800-273-TALK, or one of these numbers here for international readers (choose your country from the drop-down list). Suicide is a temporary feeling that signals untreated or under-treated depressive symptoms. There is help — and hope.

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The illness that caused Robin Williams to commit suicide turned out to be even more severe than the doctors' initial diagnosis

Komsomolskaya Pravda

HEALTH medical news not Parkinson's disease, but dementia with Lewy bodies [video]

The "sad clown", as the 63-year-old actor was called, committed suicide a few months after doctors diagnosed him with Parkinson's disease. Photo: REUTERS

Almost a year ago, on August 11, 2014, millions of fans of Hollywood star Robin Williams were saddened. The "sad clown," as the 63-year-old actor was known, took his own life months after doctors diagnosed him with Parkinson's disease. His wife Susan Schneider said that her husband, having learned about the disease, fell into a severe depression. He was very worried that the symptoms of parkinsonism (impaired coordination and movement, trembling of the hands and feet) would soon deprive him of the opportunity to act in films. Life collapsed, because this disease, the rapid development of which, although it is possible to slow down a little with drugs, is still completely incurable. nine0004

According to Radar-Online and the Californian media, research on the deceased actor's brain and nerve tissue has just been completed (they can indeed take several months). Pathologists came to the conclusion: the diagnosis is wrong!

The actor did not develop Parkinson's disease, but dementia with Lewy bodies. True, this diagnosis is also not good enough: in addition to motor disorders, the disease also leads to a violation of cognitive abilities (that is, loss of memory, recognition, senile dementia). So, this is the variant of a medical error, when in fact the disease turned out to be even more difficult than the initial diagnosis. nine0004


The actor’s condition could be worsened by drugs for depression

Anna Gorenkova, neurologist, doctor of the highest category: Levi are such tiny protein formations inside the nerve cells of the brain that disrupt its functions). Until the middle of the 20th century, diseases were generally combined into one. Even experienced neurologists are confused by very similar, almost identical, first symptoms. nine0004

Both diseases begin with minor incoordination, the appearance of a "minching" gait, and trembling of the limbs. This, in fact, combines several conditions, which are called parkinsonism syndrome. Hardware diagnostics are also not always accurate: MRI sometimes cannot detect amyloid (that is, protein formations) in the brain in dementia with Lewy bodies, because they are rather loose, not dense.

But Parkinson's disease in its pure form can proceed for quite a long time only with movement disorders, then problems with diction, facial expressions, and vision join. But this is stretched over time and can be corrected with drugs. People with Parkinson's disease can maintain mental clarity for many years. nine0004

Lewy body dementia has a worse prognosis. As a rule, it progresses rapidly, cognitive disorders quickly join motor disorders: concentration of attention decreases sharply, patients cannot recognize familiar faces and objects. And within five years, severe dementia develops, the patient needs constant care.

It is unethical to even imagine what would have happened to the actor if he had been immediately diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies. But there is one point. Patients with this diagnosis respond very poorly to antipsychotic drugs, which are often prescribed for depression. Medicines in this group can cause a worsening of the condition and a more rapid increase in all symptoms in those suffering from Lewy dementia. We don’t know what drugs the actor drank for depression and whether he drank at all, but theoretically, if neuroleptics were among them, then this could aggravate the situation. Although there is an observation that with Lewy's dementia, all existing mental disorders progress at a faster pace than, say, with Alzheimer's disease. nine0004

The famous Hollywood actor Robin Williams

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Robin Williams' filmography includes about 80 films, not counting television work. And he began his career in ordinary nightclubs, where he worked as an actor-comedian. In one of these clubs, Robin met his future wife, Valeria Velardi. The young couple played a wedding in June 1978 and immediately moved to Los Angeles (details)

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Name a close friend called the suicide of the actor

Author photo: Global look Press

10: August 1419 2014

836 Checks,

10: 1419 August 2014 August 2014, 2014 August August

New details of the death of the famous actor Robin Williams have been revealed.
A close friend of Williams told why the actor hanged himself. According to him, the cause of suicide was a side effect of a new drug for Parkinson's disease. People from the actor's entourage claim that Robin Williams' suicide was spontaneous: shortly before his death, the actor discussed plans for the future. Read the latest news below. nine0116

Actor Rob Schneider , who was friends with Robin Williams for many years, named the reason for his suicide. Schneider is confident that Williams "killed" a new drug for Parkinson's disease. According to him, suicidal ideation is one of the side effects of taking this medication, the Daily Mail newspaper writes.

Experts have confirmed that Parkinson's disease can exacerbate depression. The website of the American Institute of Mental Health (America's National Institute of Mental Health) indicates that people who simultaneously struggle with depression and Parkinson's disease have increased anxiety and experience more trouble concentrating. nine0004

Neurologist Jeff Bronstein, who specializes in Parkinson's disease, said: "Obviously, such a diagnosis can lead to depression, but I know of countless cases where depression was detected before Parkinson's disease. We think that depression is one of the early symptoms of the disease."

1 / 16


Author: globallookpress

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Actor Victor Borisov, who played in the TV series "Daddy's Daughters", died spontaneous. Just a day before his death, the actor talked about future projects. "Robin was unhappy, but he was often like that. This was not unusual ... he had a black streak in life," the source said. He noted that during the conversation, Robin Williams asked many clarifying questions, which cannot be said about a person who was about to commit suicide. nine0004

1 / 7


Pictured: Robin Williams. Photo

By Global Look Press

63 year old Robin Williams passed away last week.

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