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Press Releases

Resources on Depression and PD: PDF Response to News of Robin Williams' Diagnosis with Disease

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) has recently learned from a statement released by Robin Williams' widow, Susan Schneider, that the well known actor was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease. This revelation raised many questions in the community and amongst the media concerning the effects of a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease and symptoms such as depression. 

Here are some facts from PDF on the symptoms being discussed in the media and a statement from our President, Robin Anthony Elliott, below.

  • PDF estimates that up to 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience mild or moderate symptoms of depression at some point in the disease.
  • Thirty percent of people with Parkinson's disease are diagnosed with depression before ever receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
  • There is not yet one answer on what causes depression, but it is likely a combination of the stress of living with a chronic disease and changes in the brain that accompany Parkinson's disease.
  • There are strategies available for treating depression, including but not limited to, medications. It is important to address depression early, as it affects quality of life.
  • Parkinson's disease is very variable from person to person. Each individual will have a unique experience and journey with the disease and its symptoms.

"While depression and anxiety are quite common in Parkinson’s disease – more than half of people with Parkinson’s will experience one or the other during their lifetime – it is critical to understand that they can often be successfully managed with medications under the supervision of a doctor who specializes in PD. Anyone who has questions about this, or needs assistance in finding a doctor specializing in Parkinson's disease, is invited to call the National HelpLine of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation at (800) 457 6676 or email us at info@pdf.org," noted PDF President Robin Anthony Elliott.

The community is invited to browse PDF’s free educational resources below.

View PD ExpertBriefing: A Closer Look at Anxiety and Depression in Parkinson's

Read Fact Sheet: Combating Depression in Parkinson's

Browse our Booklet: Diagnosis Parkinson's Disease: You Are Not Alone

Recently, Claire Berman, a member of PDF's People with Parkinson's Advisory Council, spoke with PIX11 in New York about Parkinson's disease in reaction to this news. View the clip below.

Source Date: Aug 14 2014