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Robin Williams battled depression, Parkinson's, anxiety

He made millions laugh over the years and in recent days, he made many cry when they heard the news of his tragic passing. Robin Williams will long be remembered as a comic genius and a skilled dramatic actor as well.

But in the days following his death, we learned that he was also an ordinary man fighting battles on fronts familiar to many in New Jersey: depression, anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease. 

His wife wrote in a statement that her husband had struggled bravely with the challenges he faced, but she hoped that those who continue to struggle “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.”

As many in the Newark area know, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is often accompanied by a diagnosis of depression. A neurologist told NBC News that Parkinson’s “has a tendency to cause depression.” And when a person is told they have Parkinson's, a disease that attacks the central nervous system, “it creates the perfect storm,” he said.

The majority of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s are in their early 60s, the doctor said, though people can be diagnosed with it as early as their 20s. The disease affects nerve cells and chemical messengers, combining to not only affect a person’s movement, but making them more likely to develop depression.

For those facing struggles with depression, with or without Parkinson’s, the battles can leave a person unable to work. For many people in that situation, another battle looms: the fight for Social Security Disability benefits. Fortunately, help is available from experienced SSDI attorneys familiar with the difficult appeals process.  

Source: NBC, "'Perfect Storm': Parkinson's Disease May Worsen Depression," Linda Carroll, August 8, 2014

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