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Friday 19 September 2014

Robin Williams' suicide sparks Parkinson's warning

Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30

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Actor and comedian Robin Williams has died in an apparent suicide (AP)
Actor and comedian Robin Williams has died in an apparent suicide (AP)
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider
Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

PEOPLE diagnosed with Parkinson's disease should also be aware that depression can be one of the symptoms of the disease, the Irish support group for sufferers said.

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A spokeswoman for the Parkinson's Association was speaking after Susan Schneider, the wife of the late actor Robin Williams, confirmed he was in the early stages of the disease at the time of his death.

"Parkinson's disease has many symptom, one of which, sadly, is depression. Although it would appear that Robin Williams had a bigger longer-term issue with depression, that pre-dated any Parkinson's diagnosis," the spokeswoman said.

"While here has been no statement linking Mr Williams' death to his diagnosis of Parkinson's, we appreciate the honesty of Susan Schneider in speaking out about the condition."

Over 9,000 people in Ireland are living with Parkinson's. "It is important that we get the message out there that help is available," the spokeswoman said."The Parkinson's Association of Ireland has a range of services it provides countrywide, which includes information on the various aspects of Parkinson's disease, a helpline, and nurse call-back service," she added.

The group stressed that it was important to note "that many people live full and active lives with Parkinson's, but for some it is life changing and can be a major worry, for both the patients and their carers".

The support group urged anyone worried about their condition to contact them so they could be put in touch with the charity's nearest support group.

Parkinson's disease is a condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years. For more information visit the website www.parkinsons.ie or call 1800 359 359. The Samaritans can be contacted by ringing 116 123.

Irish Independent

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