infographics : Almost 1 in 5 people living with Parkinson’s disease have depressive episodes
Depression affects people in very different ways and can cause a diverse set of emotional, cognitive, and also physical symptoms.
Not all people with depression present with the totality of these symptoms.
Depression in people living with Parkinson’s disease can have several causes:
It can be difficult to determine for yourself if you are depressed, as the symptoms are often similar to what Parkinson’s disease can cause.
For example, fatigue, sleep disturbances, motor slowdown and loss of emotional expression can be interpreted as symptoms of depression, when they are likely caused by Parkinson’s disease itself.
If you suspect you have symptoms of depression, consult your doctor or a psychologist who can make the diagnosis. He will help you distinguish between the symptoms of depression and those of Parkinson’s disease. He will probably have you fill out questionnaires in order to better establish the diagnosis.
You can also take your own depression test and bring the results to your doctor or psychologist.
To prevent and overcome depression, maintain your social network as much as you can. Find ways to entertain yourself, be creative, and stay active. Exercising regularly helps fight depression. You may also need professional help.
Certain types of psychological therapy, the most common of which is called “cognitive behavioral therapy,” may help. Talk to your doctor to find out about all of the options available to you.
For moderate to severe depression, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. There are several classes of antidepressants, and your doctor will be able to choose the medication best suited for you, depending on your symptoms and situation.
St. John’s Wort is a plant with antidepressant properties commonly sold on drugstore shelves. This product is not recommended for people living with Parkinson’s because it causes many drug interactions
Family and friends play an important role in the prevention and control of depression in Parkinson’s disease. Encourage your loved one to stay active, maintain a social network, and see a doctor or psychologist.
Stay on top of your own mental health. A reduction in the time dedicated to self-care, leisure activities and sleep are examples of changes in your life that could contribute to the onset of depression.
It is important that you take care of yourself, both physically and psychologically. It may seem difficult, but it is essential. This is what will allow you to take good care of your loved one.
Depression can occur at any time in Parkinson’s disease, and even before its diagnosis. In almost 10% of cases, depression precedes the onset of motor symptoms.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can also trigger depression in some people.
Depression is usually classified as mild to severe. When left untreated, depression can progress to its severe form and affect the person’s independence and quality of life. Some people will go as far as having dark or suicidal thoughts.
Want to reach out to people in Quebec affected by Parkinson’s disease?
Make a donation to our organization today.