A new study has investigated the impact that Parkinson’s Disease can have on mental health and found that depression is more common in the early stages of the condition.
The study, which was carried out in America examined 423 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s against a group of healthy volunteers. At the outset, 14% of patients with Parkinson’s Disease were found to have depression compared to just 6.6% of the healthy volunteers.
The researchers also found that fatigue, apathy and anxiety were more common at the time of diagnosis compared to the healthy controls. It was however found that apathy and psychosis increased over the two year period in those who suffered from Parkinson’s whilst in the control group, a decrease was noted.
At the start of the study, 16% of patients with Parkinson’s were taking an anti-depressant and this increased to 25% two years later. More worryingly however, it was found that 65-72% of patients who screened positive for depression weren’t being treated with any medication.
Professor David Burn from the University of Newcastle said depression can frequently be a sign of Parkinson’s.
“It is well-recognised that people do get depression and anxiety up to 10 years before they develop Parkinson’s disease. People recognise the tremor and movement problems of Parkinson’s but the disease actually starts in the brain, affecting certain chemicals. This can cause sleep problems initially and can also lead to minor forms of depression.”
If you are struggling to cope with a long-term illness or are worried that you could be suffering from depression, please read the signs and symptoms for more information. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to one of our trained admission professionals, you can call 0808 159 5651 or fill in our online contact form. You can also learn more about depression at the Life Works Knowledge Centre.