Friday, August 15, 2014

Jumping to conclusions

I sometimes hear people say that getting old is not for sissies. Well, Parkinson's Disease is no walk in the park. And it may have been a walk that Robin Williams did not want to take- and that may have been the main reason for his death. The early reports all jumped on his history of mood and substance abuse disorder.

I often hear it said that suicide is never a rational choice. But I think it can be- even for someone with severe, recurrent, treatment-refractory depression. Maybe you just don't want to deal with that kind of life anymore. Most of our actions are not 100% rational, anyway.

For someone as expressive and emotive as Robin Williams, Parkinson's seems like a particularly cruel fate. And yet, I have many patients with Parkinson's disease with good lives. The medical therapies are getting better and there are some new rehabilitation techniques as well. But in its later stages, it is a savage disease.

I don't know what I would do if I got the diagnosis. To have to deal with that on top of the depression- that would be a lot. My biggest fear is dementia, as a result of both my illness and my meds. Along with tardive dyskinesia- although my doctor thinks we could spot this early.

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