Parkinson’s Disease & Depression – Symptoms, Signs, Treatment

Have you ever observed any older adults who experience tremor or shakings in their hands, leg or face?

These individuals suffer from Parkinson’s disease that occurs due to lack of dopamine, responsible for controlling movement in body.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease get worsened over time and are commonly found in people above 50 years of age. There is no established cure for treating Parkinson’s disease.

Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

  • Tremor or shaking in body parts such as hands, legs, face, etc.
  • Stiff arms and legs
  • Slow movement
  • Inability to balance and coordinate
  • Adverse affect on thinking and emotions

How Depression and Parkinson’s disease are related?

Depression increases the severity of symptoms of parkinson’s disease in affected patients and vice versa. Thus, Depression and Parkinson’s disease can worsen the symptoms of each other.

As per researchers, people who have depression along with Parkinson’s disease have more severe symptoms like movement problems and high anxiety levels than patients who have either depression or parkinson’s disease alone.

Patients who have both depression and parkinson’s disease experience great difficulty in concentrating although they may have show less sign of worthlessness or sadness than patients who are depressed but do not have parkinson’s disease.

Patients who have Parkinson’s disease have high number of reuptake pumps for Serotonin. These overactive pumps decrease the serotonin levels leading to depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in patients who have Parkinson’s disease

  • Feeling of sadness
  • Mood Disorders
  • Slow movement
  • Inability to balance and coordinate
  • Adverse affect on thinking and emotions
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness
  • Feeling irritable or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
  • Feeling tired frequently
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of appetite
  • Suicidal tendency

Treatment of Depression in patients who have Parkinson’s disease

Although there are no medications available to check the progress of Parkinson’s disease, there are various medications that provide considerable relief from its symptoms.

Psychiatrists treat the depression in patients with Parkinson’s disease by employing combination of various therapies for obtaining the desired results.

The dosage of these medications may be adjusted depending on the patient’s response for reducing the side effects and achieving the optimal results.

  • Medications like antidepressants

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)

Tricyclic antidepressants

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Atypical antidepressants

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is recommended in treatment resistant depression however it may be effective in treating symptoms of parkinson’s disease
  • Vagus nerve stimulation
  • Tran cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Alternative medicine including Herbal remedies and supplements

For patients, who do not respond well with the medications, psychiatrists usually recommend deep brain stimulation Surgery.

During DBS surgery, surgeons place a battery-operated neurostimulator inside the body. This medical device produces electrical stimulation in brain areas responsible for controlling movement.