Depression and Parkinson’s Disease

Mental health is often ignored or forgotten in the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Many patients with Parkinson’s disease have been found to also suffer from depression.

For people with depression and Parkinson’s disease, each illness can make symptoms of the other worse. Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are important in controlling mood. One of these is the area that produces serotonin, a brain chemical implicated in depression.

Another part of the brain important in regulating mood, the frontal lobe, is known to be under-active in Parkinson’s.

Some signs and symptoms of depression include –

  • Ongoing sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Ongoing aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment.
  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, worthless, helpless, irritable or restless
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, a condition called insomnia or sleeping all the time
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyable, including sex
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of death and suicide or suicide attempts

Depression is diagnosed and treated by a health care provider. Treating depression can help you manage your Parkinson’s disease treatment and improve your overall health. Recovery from depression takes time but treatments are effective.


Author avatar
Hellen Mwithiga

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