Depression and Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the body’s motor system. In Parkinsons disease, the neurons in the brain that are responsible for making dopamine become damaged or stop working all together. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that is responsible for coordination of muscle movement in the body.
The symptoms of Parkinsons disease include tremors of the hands and legs. A slow, shuffling gait is another symptom of Parkinsons. Rigid muscles and a soft, slow, speech are two other common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Depression and Parkinson’s disease often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, depression in Parkinsons disease is often overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Studies have shown that at least 40% of the people diagnosed with Parkinsons disease will suffer from depression at some time. This depression will exacerbate the problems that the patient is having with memory and mobility. The caregiver will often overlook these symptoms of depression and assume that they are a natural progression of Parkinson’s disease.
There is no definite answer for what causes depression in people with Parkinsons disease. The stress of living with this disease in combination with the changes in the brains chemistry could be huge contributing factors to depression.
When treating depression in Parkinson’s disease, it can be helpful to treat the symptoms of the disease first. There are medications that can help decrease the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. If the patient can regain some control of his life with treatment, the depression may be alleviated.
Depression in Parkinsons disease may also appear because of the changes in the chemicals in the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are two major chemicals found in the brain that affect mood. In Parkinson’s disease, there is an imbalance in these chemicals which can cause depression.
There are medications available that can help treat depression. When someone with Parkinson’s disease is coping with the physical changes in his or her body, it is very hard to cope with the emotional changes also. Starting a Parkinsons disease patient on a medication that can alleviate stress and depression is very important to help them maintain some sense of normalcy.
There are other interventions that can be performed to help with depression and Parkinsons disease. Exercise is a great way to help the patient relieve stiff muscles and to help release the natural chemical in the brain that can increase mood. Exercise will also give the patient a sense of control over the muscles that are affected by Parkinson’s disease.
Depression and Parkinsons disease is quite common. If someone you love suffers from Parkinson’s disease, be on the lookout for symptoms of depression. It is important to get treatment for the depression to give the patient a chance to deal with their disease.
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