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The Robin Williams Tragedy and Its Lesson

Robin Williams alchol use with depression causes fears amoungst everyone
Robin Williams battled with depression.

Robin Williams’ Alcohol Use and Depression

Robin Williams’ alcohol use, depression, and recent death has sparked fears and curiosities about the link between depression and alcohol abuse in general.

According to the WebMD, research is currently split on the issue as to whether clinical depression leads to alcohol abuse or if alcohol abuse causes depression or both. What is known for sure is that alcohol has a very calming effect within the brain and that is why people are likely to turn to it when stressed. According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly one-third of those who struggle with depression of some kind have a tendency to abuse alcohol. It has also been shown that children with tendencies to clinical depression are more likely to develop alcoholism in their teens.

It is not known exactly when Robin Williams’ alcohol use first started but according to Wikipedia, during his childhood, he was bullied constantly and his parents were gone much of the time leaving him and his siblings in the care of their maids. That being said, it’s very possible that Robin Williams’ depression stemmed from that time.

What we do know is about his relapse into alcoholism after having been sober for twenty years. He was very open about it and famously said,

“’One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice – I call it the “lower power” – goes, “Hey. Just a taste. Just one.” I drank it, and there was that brief moment of “Oh, I’m okay!” But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.” (

Robin Williams’ Drug Use

It is not known exactly how Robin Williams’ drug use with cocaine began. According to the WebMd, cocaine is known as a drug of choice for many celebrities, models and even Wall Street traders. Cocaine has immediate results with its quick entrance into the blood stream and journey to the brain. It temporarily blocks the action of many neurotransmitters (including serotonin) and prevents them from being re- immersed, which is the main cause of that temporary high. The effects wear off after 30 minutes to two hours.

As for Robin Williams’ drug use, he was likely introduced to cocaine after making it into Hollywood. According to Wikipedia, he went above expectation in Juiliard by his junior year there so his instructor went ahead and advised him to go ahead and get out into the world. With his tendency to clinical depression, he likely fell into the trap of always having to have that euphoric high. Cocaine is also notorious for having numerous negative effects including strokes, heart problems, paranoia and irritability, even while on an acute high. As a result, even though authorities say that it was genetic with him, Robin Williams’ drug use might have been a contributor to his need for open heart surgery in 2009.

Let’s let Robin Williams’ drug use and alcohol use be a reinforcing lesson to us all to be at least very cautious with both.


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