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Depression is common with Parkinson’s

Monday May 07, 2012

What is the association between Parkinson’s and depression?

Many people with Parkinson’s experience depression, in fact, up to 50% of people with Parkinson’s.The cause of depression in Parkinson’s is thought to occur from biochemical changes (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) in brain regions that influence mood. Depression can also be caused by other circumstances and frustrations such as a reaction or response to your Parkinson’s diagnosis, life worries, social isolation, loneliness, or secondary to chronic frustrations when symptoms cause problems with everyday tasks. Depression can be present at all times, as a reaction to having a bad day or when Parkinson’s medications start to wear off just before the next dose of medicine is due. Other facts about depression

  • Can be present all the time or as a wearing off symptom
  • Can be present with anxiety
  • Can be associated with apathy or loss of motivation
  • Conversely apathy can be present without depression
  • Can worsen sleep, pain, coping, fatigue
  • Impacts relationships, lifestyle choices so important to living better
  • Is treatable- diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, stress reduction and gratitude all can help
  • New antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and norepinephrine-serotonin reuptake inhibitors improve symptoms

See Wellness Center for more about depression.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Medical Director, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation

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