Williams struggled with drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression for years, according to The New York Times. Williams cleaned up from drugs in the mid-80s, but then sought treatment for alcohol abuse in 2006. Williams had been treated for severe depression recently. However, the risk of suicide increases in people who are struggling with drug and alcohol use and depression. And just yesterday his wife indicated that Williams was also in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.
Suicide rates for adults ages 45 to 64 increased 40 percent from 1999 to 2011, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The suicide rate for people in middle age to late middle age is higher than any other group, according to Jill Harkavy-Friedman, Vice President of Research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “We don’t hear about middle-age or older people who kill themselves unless they’re a star like Robin Williams,” she said. “Because it’s so shocking when a younger person dies, there’s a tendency of re-reporting and romanticizing.”
According to Julie Phillips, Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, the increased suicide rate in this age group could be caused by:
- Economic Pressures
- Health Problems
- Abuse of Prescription Drugs
- Social Isolation