Depression in Parkinson’s

It is not unusual for people with Parkinson’s disease and early onset Parkinson’s disease to experience depression.

Depression is one of an array of symptoms that may present themselves in early onset Parkinson’s disease.

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Depression can pre-date other signs of Parkinson’s, even some of the motor symptoms. Certainly, not everyone who has Parkinson’s Disease will get depression, and not everyone with depression will get PD, but it is a symptom to be aware of and to attend sooner rather than later. Depression is not always a serious mental health concern, but it can be.

Improving sleep and getting regular exercise may help depression. There are no drugs that are approved specifically for treatment of depression in PD. Drugs used to treat depression in the general population however, are used in patients with PD as well. These treatment options include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, such as sertraline and paroxetine; and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SSNRIs, such as venlafaxine. Tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline and desipramine can also be used, although they cause more side effects than the other types of anti-depressants and are therefore used less frequently. A form of psychological counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy may also be helpful, as may attending a support group for people with PD.

Keep in mind, depression and other non-motor symptoms are not something you should just have to just “live with.” Most types of Parkinson’s depression are treatable. It may take some time to find the treatment that will work best for you and your particular symptoms, so work closely with your doctor. Consulting other healthcare professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker can also be quite helpful.

Read more about Parkinson’s and Depression in our Brochure

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is generally considered a neurological disorder. However, because of the frequency of mood and other psychiatric complications, PD could also be considered as a neuropsychiatric disease. In fact, James Parkinson himself observed in 1817 that depression is commonly associated with PD.

Read more about depression and its connection to Parkinson’s Disease here: Download Depression and Parkinson’s