Case Study on Robin Williams: Substance Abuse and Depression


This paper is a case study done on actor and comedian Robin Williams. Williams had presented signs of major depressive disorder along with his existing substance abuse. Williams has also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s affecting his ability to maintain his career, giving him more intense depressive symptoms. Williams needs a mix of psychoanalytically therapy over a long period of time to target the reasons of his depression as well as shorter term cognitive-behavioral therapy to encourage him and teach him how to better maintain his life and disorder. This combination, along with staying away from drugs and alcohol, should set Williams on a path to recovery.

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Robin Williams is a 63-year-old male comedian, actor, and voice actor. Williams has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but may exhibit signs of Lewy body dementia, both of which affect the brain and nervous system. He also had heart surgery that required recovery time away from his shows and movies. No familial history of mental illness found. Williams married 3 times, first to Valarie Velardi (ending in divorce due to infidelity and substance abuse by Williams), then to Marsha Garces (also ending in divorce), and finally Susan Schneider as a current spouse. Williams has two sons, Cody and Zachary, and one daughter, Zelda. Williams has an extensive history of multiple substance abuse, including alcohol and cocaine. He faced bullying and loneliness as a child and faces loneliness, failed relationships, and substance abuse as an adult. Williams faced a tough time breaking through in acting and recently had the show “The Crazy Ones” canceled. His main goal was to be a comedian and actor in his younger years, this is the way he connected/connects with people. Another goal was to beat addiction after the birth of his first son, Zachary. Williams stayed sober for close to two decades, but relapsed and has struggled up to this point. Williams has turned to substances and focus on his work and shows to cope with his losses and hardships through the years. Cycling also helped Williams kick addiction for a while as a replacement. Williams weaknesses were women and alcohol, leading him down a disastrous road of infidelity and addiction.

Williams has exhibited symptoms such as trouble sleeping, constipation, loss of the sense of smell, intense anxiety, tremors, difficulty thinking and concentrating, loss of interest in activities, difficulty making decisions, and suicidal thoughts. Feelings of sadness, paranoia, guilt, and worthlessness. Williams believes there is something medically wrong with him and has underwent many tests and scans, tried physical therapy and yoga, tried medication, and attempted self-hypnosis. Williams suffered from low self-esteem and emotional neglect from his parents at a young age. Other than being diagnosed with Parkinson’s the scans and tests indicated no other medical conditions.

Williams exhibits symptoms and signs of severe depression (major depressive disorder), code F33.2. This diagnosis was reached because DSM-V (2013) states “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” Symptoms displayed that show signs of depression are feeling sad, feeling worthless or guilty, loss of interest in activities, trouble sleeping, difficulty thinking, difficulty concentrating, difficulty reasoning or making decisions, and suicidal thoughts. This display of 8 total symptoms lines up with depression. Williams diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease complicated the process of finding a mental diagnosis. Symptoms such as trouble sleeping and cognitive changes (difficulty thinking, concentrating, or reasoning) fit under both diseases and were displayed by Williams. Depression fits in the Axis I category of mood disorders, which includes: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder I and II, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and cyclothymic disorders. Williams does not suffer from any type of disorder that falls under Axis II, seeing as though they are personality disorders. Axis III has had serious impact on Williams. Williams health greatly affects his mental illness. Parkinson’s disease is currently untreatable and is neurodegenerative, meaning it affects specific neurons in the brain. Symptoms include delusions or hallucinations, sleep disorders, and speech impairments. It also shares symptoms with Lewy body dementia, which also has no cure. There is suspicion Williams was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s. Either of the listed diseases coupled with major depressive disorder will be disastrous. Williams will eventually have to give up acting and comedy shows, the things he clings to and enjoys most. Williams history of substance abuse (alcohol and cocaine) also makes his illness more intense. Substance abuse allows Williams thoughts of guilt and worthlessness spiral into suicidal thoughts, becoming even more dangerous. Axis IV has not affected Williams as greatly as Axis III. Williams bullying and emotionally neglect as a child and then two failed marriages while being in and out of rehab has taken its toll. Williams has had ample time and reasons for his mind to wander to dark thoughts and places. On the Axis V scale, Williams scores somewhere between 30 and 40. Williams has stated he feels as though he is going crazy and is almost unable to function completely, though still maintains personal hygiene.

Psychoanalytically, this problem can be solved through the release of repressed experiences or emotions from the unconscious. Bringing those thoughts out is seen as a healing method when needed. The psychoanalytical approach was created by Sigmund Freud, who believed that people could be cured through the unconscious by gaining insight into it. These mental disturbances would be seen as an issue in the unconscious that should be brought forward in an effort to correct them. Generally, these issues spur from traumatic occurrences or issues during the developmental period (childhood). It is fairly normal for depression to be treated with a psychoanalytical approach through therapy. In this form of therapy Robin will recall memories, experiences, etc. throughout his life while notes are taken in an effort to bring out the unconscious causes of the illness. This involves a regular therapy schedule for however long Williams needs to attend. Williams will respond well to this therapy seeing as though he doesn’t have trouble talking about his past and all of his experiences throughout life. Talking through these should allow Williams an idea of what events brought about or triggered the illness. Psychoanalytical therapy should prove to be effective in his treatment, as it is in other cases of depression. Williams will become more comfortable with his past and trauma that he has endured, such as the overdose of John Belushi, and able to determine how to control bouts with depression. This therapy should set Williams on a long-needed path to recovery. However, recovery will potentially take years for Williams to see great results. The brain’s natural defense mechanisms make this therapy a long process over several years, though it is one of the most effective. Techniques used in this therapy to aid in bringing out unconscious thoughts include inkblots, interpretation, parapraxes, resistance analysis, free association, and transference analysis. Several of these rely on interpretation by the analyst/therapist present or Williams himself. This paired with a more encouraging short-term therapy will pair well.

Through the Cognitive-Behavioral approach this problem can be resolved by talk through sessions, potentially with the help of other therapies such as medication. It helps teach how to manage stressful situations throughout life more effectively. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy focuses more on solutions to the illness rather than roots of said illness, which is how psychoanalytical therapy would approach major depressive disorder. The cognitive-behavioral approach encourages a change of behavior that is needed. The approach stresses the idea that perceptions and thoughts will influence a person’s overall behavior. One’s reality may be warped because of their perception. This type of therapy may help with multiple mental illnesses and the symptoms that come with them (major depressive disorder, phobias, eating disorders, PTSD, sleep disorders, etc.), help to prevent relapse, determine how to manage emotions properly, help overcome emotional traumas throughout life, and help find was to cope with stressful situations. Therapy sessions can be one-on-one or group therapies where Williams will learn about his mental illness and gain knowledge on coping, stress management, and relaxing. Williams will need to be open to any questions asked and to sharing his past. Williams may be asked to do activities or “homework” to build on his knowledge from therapy so it can be applied to his life easier. Therapy will be shorter term, 10-20 sessions in total. Williams should respond well to this type of therapy as well, seeing as though there is no issue about sharing his past and experiences. The addition of medication to this therapy is not a logical idea due to his past addiction to substances. Williams has been surprisingly open to any questions about his past up to this point. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy will work better in conjunction with psychoanalytical therapy, since it is long-term therapy. Williams should have the best possible results with a combination of these two therapies approaches because one will target the root of his issue and solve it while the other will encourage him to learn about his disease and how to better manage his life with said disease.



Robin Hood Ethnic

Robert Hood is an outlaw who lived in Sherwood Forest of England. The ethnic piece of literary helps to depict the culture and stories of the person. This research describes the life of Robert hood and ethnic mythology that includes the folktales, myths, legends, fables, poetry, etc. The stories of Robin Hood show him to be a legend and it no longer seems to be a history.

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Ballads (songs that state stories) related to the Robin Hood became popular in the 14th century. In the 15th century, robin was featured in games also. The main reason behind the survival of the Robin Hood’s Stories is that his character is portrayed as an outlaw and rebel, which are striking characters, particularly those whose motive behind the rob is not for personal gain but for the cause of providing justice to the common people (Doel, 2000).
Thesis statement: Ethnic literary plays a vital role in reflecting the culture, as in the case of Robin Hood, ethnic literary reflects his pagan culture.
Mythological Robin:
He became the most renowned part of May Games. He was viewed as the legend and became a celebrated part of the May Games. Robin was seen as a fabulous summer king who could successfully lead a procession. This linked the Robin with other legends of the forest.
The story describing him would be literal as the tales depict the real figures from the history. Alteration has been made in the historical fact and that too in a creative manner. This has blended together numerous important precepts, which encourage the right living and moral conduct. The narratives consist of mixture of facts, which separates them away from the other stories in folklore. Robin used to spare the goods of the poor and women’s were not harmed. As a result, he became popular among the common public (Potter, 1998).
Fables: These are associated with educating the readers with the important truths in simple tales and usually provide a lesson or morale at the end. The story of robin is short and at the end depicts the truths, which are not easily seen in the every day life. Most of the characters in fables are the non-living objects and animals which show the human passions and interests (Blamires, 1998).
Folk tales: these tales consider the adventures which are both fantastic and authentic. These are also referred as the simple stories that describe the evil and the good deals. Apart from this, these also act as a better source of teaching the values. In the story of the Robin Hood, he has been identified as wearing green because he was associated with the deep Green Man of folklore and art (Phillips, 2003).
Myths: Myths represent the prehistoric and the oldest stories. By nature, they are realistic and holy. According to Robin, productiveness is known as foliage. Myths are of different types in nature. History behind the myth of creation is the formation of world; it is a real concept and also eases the complexity and secrecy of the creation of the world. Another myth deals with the adventure of the divinity and achievement of courage. These tales frequently have cyclic model in which facts are explained in the shape of sign and story to make clear the individual situation and the basis for his distress.
Ballads: The description of ballad was based on Gest, which emerged in the 16th century, soon after the preface of issue in England. After that century, Robin is rewarded to the rank of nobleman. He is nominated as the Earl of Huntington, Robert of Locksley, or Robert Fitz Ooth. In the early hours of ballads, by difference, he was the associate of yeoman classes, who were ordinary freeholder having a small landed park.
The weapons and tools used by Robin Hood show his connection with ancient woodland and ethnic practices. His main weapon was bow, which was the weapon of Diana, virgin Goddess of the Hunt and his secondary weapons, the quarterstaff and sword, showed the manliness and tarot practitioners use it as an esoteric symbol. He used a horn to call his followers, which is related to recalling the hidden horns on his head (Hahn, 2000).
The ritual followed in celebration of festivals like Beltane or May Day clarifies the ancient themes engrafted with Robin Hood fable. The myth of Robin Hood matches with some other myths and traditions of countries around the world. Robin Hood was expelled from community with his wife Marian and his lieutenant Little John like Rama in India. The Robin Hood story ponders the Ramayana. When Britons visited India, two cultures started to share their views, language and heritage (Hahn, 2000). The very old Proto-Indo-European myth got combined when the two cultures merged. Both were having two great archer heroes, Rama & Robin.
Apart from the Indo-European cultural similarity, there is one more character in Chinese novel. Song Jiang with his 108 followers carried a war against corrupt feudal system. Novels, films and songs developed Robin Hood’s image according to their needs. Robin Hood has become a symbol who helped the have-nots by taking the surplus from the persons who owned the resources in excess (Potter, 1998).
Blamires, D. (1998). Robin Hood: A Hero for All Times. J. Rylands Univ. Lib. of Manchester.
Doel, et al. (2000). Robin Hood: Outlaw and Greenwood Myth. Tempus Publishing Ltd.
Hahn, T. (2000). Robin Hood in Popular Culture: Violence, Transgression and Justice. D.S. Brewer.
Phillips, H. (2003). Robin Hood: Medieval and Post-medieval. Cornell University Press.
Potter, L. (1998). Playing Robin Hood: The Legend as Performance in Five Centuries. University of Delaware Press.s

The Philosophical Views of Robin Hood

When someone utters the name: Robin Hood and almost immediately people will conjure up images of the green-clad archer of Sherwood Forest, or the noble robber who steals from the rich to give to the poor, and in a deeper sense, a man who will stand up to injustice and tyranny during the period that historians classify as the Middle Ages. Robin Hood is looked at by many as a hero. When taking a look at this idea through a philosophical point of view, there are more things to consider. Should people actually regard him as a hero? If so, don’t we have some sort of a responsibility as a society to look upon people who steal no matter what the reason for their actions may be as nothing more than a thief who is blight on society? On the flip side, is it acceptable to consider him a hero because he is helping those who are deemed less fortunate in society and therefore making society better as a whole? Upon using the ideas of Mills, and Kant it is this authors opinion that indeed Robin Hood though his actions aren’t the most morally ideal, he is breaking laws that ultimately were made by rich men and done so to most of the time to protect themselves and their fortune. Philosophically speaking, what Robin Hood did was help the greater good of many at the expense of a few and as a result society as a whole improved.

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Before diving in and explaining this further one must look at the three philosophers and their ideas and compare them to the folk hero himself. John Stuart Mill’s idea of utilitarianism can be considered as the idea of greatest happiness. Like the folk hero Robin Hoods actions, it can be described as that that a person has a duty to always act so he/she can accomplish the most happiness for the greatest number of people. One of Mill’s major ideas to the concept of utilitarianism is that he argues for the group over the individual. When looking at Robin Hood, while he is stealing, he is doing so for the greater good of many as opposed to the individual (in most cases, Robin Hood steals from the Sheriff of Nottingham). But there is a difference between what Mills argues than that of say Jeremy Bentham. Bentham argues that all phases of happiness as indeed equal. Mills tends to argue that pleasures derived from thinking and that of moral fiber can be considered superior to those pleasures that are in the physical nature. Mills also argues that happiness can be considered of higher value than that of contentment. This can be considered one part where Mills might have a problem with what Robin Hood is doing. Mill’s idea of being morally correct and having that leading to happiness can lead some people to believe that he would not have approved at Robin Hoods actions.
Mill’s definition of the difference between happiness of a higher and lower nature coupled with the idea that those who have seen and been a part of both tend to favor one over the other. In other words, Mill’s tends to argue is that it is the simple pleasures of life that people tend to prefer when they have no experience with something such as art or a night out at a museum and are because of this, these people are not in a position to make any sort of distinction between the two. This is something that can apply to Robin Hood as the people that he steals from certainly have an idea about museums and art and those who he gives his stolen products to certainly prefer the simple pleasures in life such as being able to eat a full meal or have some place to sleep. While Mills is certainly distinguishing two groups of people, he is not forgetting about the people that can be considered poor in his writing. Therefore it can be argued that while morally he does not totally agree with Robin Hood’s way of being, when looking at this writing, he does talk about the happiness for the greater good and there are some people who prefer the simple pleasures in life. These people, who prefer the simple pleasures, are those who Robin Hood helps the most although he may not fit into Mills idea of moral ambiguity. It should be noted that, Mills certainly have advocated sending the poor to universities to get an education and he believed that education would then qualify them to have more influence in say government but lets not forget that at the time that Robin Hood supposedly lived, there was a rigid class system and it was like it was today where people have ways through government programs to make that happen so this idea of his argument does not really apply here and therefore one must go back to the simple writings of Mills of happiness for the greater group and the simple pleasures that the poor during this time period to apply the idea of Robin Hood and whether he is right or wrong. When taking all factors into consideration it is the argument of this author that he would have seen Robin Hood as someone who is doing good work.
When taking a gander at Immanuel Kant, he tends to argue that people occupy a special place in the idea of creation, and his definition of morality can best be defined as that there is a law of reason that create all of humans duties and obligations. In other words, there is a reason that people do the things that they do and sometimes the reasons can be really simple. He takes this one step further by arguing that anything important as any idea that declares a certain action to be necessary. A good example of this can be described as: if someone is thirsty, they must have something to drink to make that thirst go away. Well, when looking at the idea and actions of a Robin Hood, he quenches the thirst of those who are thirsty. He feeds those who are hungry. He takes care of those who are less fortunate and does so using Kant’s definition of morality because there is a reason that creates his duty and obligation (the definition above). It should be noted however, that he also talks about a categorical imperative which, on the other hand, denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that asserts its authority in all circumstances. “It is best known in its first formulation:
“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” This last idea is where Kant might have a problem with the actions of Robin Hood. Certainly, stealing will never become universal law, but this begs to ask the question, is feeding someone who is deemed an outcast from society because they don’t believe in the laws made by someone who is ruthless and attempts to weed out those who don’t agree with him wrong? Let’s not forget that laws are made by man himself and usually those laws are made to benefit those who make them. They are not made with everyone in mind. This is why the idea of universal law can be certainly considered biased. They are made with the idea that they benefit those who are making them without thinking of how they affect the “little people” of society. This is who Robin Hood thinks about; those who are not taken into consideration when laws are made. This is why he can be considered “a man of the common people.”
Kant was known for his major unhappiness with those moral philosophies that were considered popular during his time; because he believed that it would never pass the level of being hypothetical. An idea such as that a utilitarian says that killing someone is indeed wrong because it does not create the most good for the most number of people. But this idea doesn’t relate to someone who doesn’t care about the greater good of the group and is only concerned with maximizing the positive outcome for themselves such as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Because of this, Kant argues that the idea of hypothetical moral systems cannot influence people’s moral actions or be looked upon as moral judgments against different people.
While both Kant and Mills would not totally be on board, so to speak with the way that Robin Hood conducted his daily life, it would be safe to argue that a lot of their writings pertain to the idea of what Robin Hood represents. Robin Hood showed people that sometimes an otherwise wrong deed is at times a good thing. Or in simpler terms, sometimes stealing isn’t necessarily wrong, particularly when justified by worthy ideal such as the greater good of the group or when laws are made by man for the benefit of the few in society, an idea that is still very prevalent today all over the world. Some consider Robin Hood an outlaw, this author considers him someone who had the courage to stand up to those who could not stand up for themselves and often was banished by society. He is fighting what can be considered a class war during the Middle Ages and it certainly is an idea that almost a millennium later, we are still fighting as a society. Maybe some things will never change.