For people with Parkinson’s, depression is quite common and disabling—and it is the symptom most often overlooked. Up to 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience mild or moderate depressive symptoms. In fact, research suggests that the disease itself causes chemical changes in the brain that may lead to depression.
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. Commonly prescribed antidepressants can help. In addition to medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been shown to help some people with Parkinson’s.
Other researchers have found that people with Parkinson’s who were depressed had more trouble with daily activities, and were more likely to begin medication for motor symptoms sooner than those without depressive symptoms. Depression decreased their quality of life and made their motor symptoms worse—but treating the depression, rather than the motor symptoms, improved both quality of life and movement. If you feel you are doing very poorly, yet your doctor finds only mild physical impairments during your exam, you may be depressed. Depression can range from feelings of sadness and discouragement to extreme hopelessness. These feelings generally are different from the grief and frustration you may feel as a result of your diagnosis.
Excerpt from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website
Help support Parkinson’s research by donating or buying a ticket to Shake It up For Parkinson’s – a fundraiser that is taking place in Toronto, Canada on September 6, 2013.
*Don’t miss a special evening with rock legend Tom Cochrane in support of the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. Set in the fabulous Capital Event Theatre, the event will include an open bar, great food, a silent auction and amazing entertainment.