The revelation that Robin Williams was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease sheds a new light on what may have driven the comic superstar to commit suicide.
“In a person who is already suffering from depression, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease could very well have exacerbated that and made the idea of suicide much more realistic,” says nationally known psychotherapist Fran Sherman.
“Chronic neurological disease, which eventually can kill, would make someone who suffers from depression feel even more hopeless and helpless.”
Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, revealed in a written statement Thursday that the actor had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She also said that Williams was in the early stages of the disease, and had not wanted to make his diagnosis public yet.
Williams’ “sobriety was intact” at the time of his death, she added. The comedian had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and recently had completed a stint in rehab.
“It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid,” Schneider said.