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New Documentary Looks at Robin Williams’ Struggle With Lewy Body Dementia

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What happened: A new documentary set for on-demand release will look at Robin Williams’ final days and his struggle with Lewy body dementia. “Robin’s Wish” is directed by Tylor Norwood and looks at the time leading up to his death from the perspective of Williams’ wife, Susan. Williams’ died in 2014 and the cause was determined to be suicide. Despite not having a diagnosis, the documentary will look at about what the comedian was likely going through with the degenerative disease.

The Frontlines: Lewy body dementia is said to be the second most common type of progressive dementia. It leads to a decline in mental abilities and may cause hallucinations. Some patients also report Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

  • The hallmark of the disease is the presence of “Lewy bodies” in the brain, accumulations of protein that gather in nerve cells. However, Lewy bodies are also present in other disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease.
  • According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, the disease is the costliest type of dementia in the United States.
  • There can be difficulties in diagnosing Lewy body dementia, and there is no single test to diagnose the disease. Challenges include its similarities to other types of dementia and psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia.

A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Meghan Bayer, shared her experience having a loved one with Lewy body dementia. She said, “This disease is not something to be taken lightly. It strains families, financial resources and the individual with the disease. Coming from a medically trained family, we know the importance of sticking together during tough times. Yet, there were times when we felt alone. I felt alone.” You can submit your first-person story, too.

From Our Community:

What’s something kind you can do for yourself this week?

Other things to know: You can learn more about Williams’ post-mortem diagnosis with the disease and what his family has said about his struggles with these Mighty articles:

How to take action: You can watch the documentary’s trailer below and see the full film when it releases on demand Sept. 1.

Header image via “Robin’s Wish”/Instagram

Originally published: August 31, 2020
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