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Robin Williams’ sudden passing by suicide on August 11 came as a shock to many. A well-loved comedian and actor for stage and film, famous for his roles in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting, he was loved by millions of fans around the world.
It was well known that he struggled with cocaine abuse and alcohol abuse throughout his life, quitting use of both substances before his son was born in 1983. He was sober for 20 years, but began drinking again in 2003. He headed back to rehab this past summer.
However, substance abuse was not the only disorder that Williams faced. His representative Mara Buxbaum told CNN: “He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss.”
Despite Williams’ fame and continued success in his career – reportedly, the actor has four movies slated for upcoming release – he was unable to combat the overwhelming combination of depression and addiction. Either alone is deadly enough, but the two together can be unbearable without effective treatment.
A Lifetime Struggle
In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, Williams described why he began drinking again but did not return to cocaine use: “Cocaine – paranoid and impotent, what fun. There was no bit of me thinking, ooh, let’s go back to that. Useless conversations until midnight, waking up at dawn feeling like a vampire on a day pass. No.”
But alcohol, he said, was different. He was on set in a small town in Alaska when he relapsed: “I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It was that thing of working so much, and going f**k, maybe that will help. And it was the worst thing in the world.”
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Though many attempt to treat depression, one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the United States, with alcohol and drugs, it’s never a tool that works. In every case, substance abuse, when it becomes a regular habit, increases the severity and frequency of symptoms while creating a host of new problems along the way.
If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and depression, don’t wait to seek help. Addiction treatment and detox can provide new tools for living, new hope for the future. Contact us today. We’re here to help you start the healing process now.
The Loss of Robin Williams: Highlighting the Disorders of Depression and Drug Abuse