Cleveland doctor explains link between Parkinson's Disease & depression after Robin Williams's death

CLEVELAND - Thursday we learned the late Robin Williams suffered from Parkinson's disease. He was in the early stages of the disease but there is a distinct link between Parkinson's and depression.

Dr. Joseph Hanna, MD, chair of neurology at MetroHealth Medical Center said, "We see people with chronic illnesses like Parkinson's disease, they do take their lives."

Sobering words that brings immediate awareness to the seriousness of the disease. Dr.Hanna says people with Parkinson's often suffer from depression for two reasons. The slowing down, the lack of independence that comes with the illness and then there's what we all have, these internal chemicals that slowly get depleted and you lose these chemicals in your brain. As they go lower, most people get depressed.

Williams' remarkable ability to make people laugh out loud masked his internal battle with depression, addiction and the early stages of Parkinson's. But the disease is not a death sentence.

If you or someone you know has Parkinson's disease Dr. Hanna has this advice. "Look at them closely and get them treated before something bad happens."

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