Depression is common suffering in Parkinson’s & if you find yourself sad or depressed most times during the day then you’re not alone.
Keeping mental stability during Parkinson’s is extremely important. Though you’ll find this symptom common for chronic diseases, it is even more common for PD patients.
At least 50% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are likely to experience a certain type of depression during this illness, while 40% of them may experience an anxiety disorder.
You may have got the idea that mood swings, anxiety & depression are the greatest motor impairments for PD patients. However, you should not confuse sadness with depression as they’re both different.
Sadness vs. Depression In Parkinson’s
Sadness is temporary while depression is permanent. Depression may last for weeks or more. In other words, depression is triggered by chemical changes in the brain.
Parkinson’s disease is responsible for causing changes in the brain areas producing dopamine, norepinephrine & serotonin. These are the chemicals that regulate mood, sleep, motivation, energy, and appetite. Additionally, a PD patient may be depressed even before he/she is diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
So, if you’re new to Parkinson’s let us make it clear for you before proceeding to the details for depression.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s is a central nervous system disorder. It affects the nerve cells in the brain. As a result, muscular stiffness, difficulty in movements, tremors, imbalance, and troubles in performing nominal routine activities are faced.
How is depression linked with Parkinson’s?
Depression is one of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, just like insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and anxiety. Needless to say, depression may be caused by such sleep disorders, consistent fatigue, and fear of whether the patient will ever get back to the normal routine.
You can easily conclude how Parkinson’s & depression are interlinked.
Causes of depression in Parkinson’s
Depression is a mood disorder when you feel overwhelmed with sadness, hopefulness, and loss for whatever you come across at your home or office. Several reasons could be responsible for causing depression & we’ve broadly categorized them as psychological, biological, and environmental factors.
Let’s have a look at each of these causes in brief.
Negative thoughts keep pouring in & you cannot help yourself from the feelings that only lead to helplessness, hopelessness, and sadness, no matter how hard you try. You’re ultimately vulnerable to depression.
You become socially isolated & make your lifestyle restricted. In short, you de-socialize.
Changes in brain chemistry directly affect your thinking process & emotions. Also, if a PD patient has a history of mental health issues before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s then they’re likely to suffer from depression later.
It’s a natural human reaction to feel depressed after being diagnosed with some chronic illness.
It could be a side-effect of certain medication that triggers depression in PD.
Symptoms of depression in Parkinson’s
After studying the causes, we’re about to explore the symptoms of depression in Parkinson’s that usually vary from person to person. The severity of Parkinson’s could range from mild to severe.
We’ve figured out some commonly found symptoms in PD & here they are:
- Permanent sadness
- Crying for no reason
- Losing interest in favorite activities
- Guilty, criticism, and worthless feelings
- Feeling energy loss during the day
- Fatigue kicks in
- Developing Over-eating or poor appetite habits
- Lack of motivation
- Limb or body pain
- Feeling like a burden on loved ones
- Dreaming of disability or death
- Sleep disorders – either sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all
- Suicidal thoughts
How do you know if you’re depressed in Parkinson’s?
If you find any of the above-mentioned symptoms happening with you, you’re supposed to consult the doctor & ask for help. You should not wait for these signals to get more severe & put your life at risk.
Depression is often underrated in Parkinson’s & thus it remains unnoticed. This is the reason most PD patients remain in a depressed mood & lose interest in normal routine activities too.
Treatment options for depression in Parkinson’s
The two major & reliable treatment options for depression include antidepressant medicines like Etizolam (as this depression is mostly triggered by anxiety, insomnia, excessive sleep disorder, fatigue, etc.) & psychological counseling.
Firstly, the patient needs to face depression bravely & accept the fact that it’s a common symptom. Secondly, they should evaluate the current/ongoing medicines with the doctor to identify whether any of these medicines is causing depression. If yes, alternate medicines could be prescribed to minimize both motor & non-motor symptoms.
Antidepressants like Etizolam are very effective for combating depression in Parkinson’s. However, the causes & symptoms may differ from patient to patient & so the solution could differ too. If you’re already using any medicines, make sure they don’t react with antidepressants.
Go for psychological counseling sessions whenever necessary. This therapy is very beneficial in changing thought patterns & behavior to minimize depressed & anxious thoughts. Exercising could also help.