Do you have questions about the news that Robin Williams was living with early Parkinson’s disease? See our statement and browse facts and free educational resources from PDF.

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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 news 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.

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 – 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 Please also browse the facts and resources we’ve gathered below on depression and anxiety in PD.

 Contact the HelpLine

Facts about Depression, Anxiety and PD

  • 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.

Resources to Understand and Cope with Depression in PD

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 Booklet: Diagnosis Parkinson's Disease: You Are Not Alone
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How can I ask PDF my questions about depression and PD?

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If you have or believe you have Parkinson’s disease, then promptly consult a physician and follow your physician’s advice. This email is not a substitute for a physician’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or for a physician’s prescription of drugs, treatment or operations for Parkinson’s.