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Parkinson's Disease and Depression

People living with a chronic condition can sometimes feel depressed, not just sad. The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) notes that “depression and anxiety” are more common for people living with Parkinson’s disease than other chronic diseases.

“It is estimated that at least 50 percent of those diagnosed with PD will experience some form of depression during their illness, and up to 40 percent will experience an anxiety disorder,” the NPF states. They recommend that people living with Parkinson’s disease get screened for depression annually and talk with their health care provider about changes in mood.

Depression can be caused by a variety of factors including loss of control over one’s life, frustration, and anxiety about the future. When someone is depressed they may withdraw socially or reduce physical activity.
There are treatment options for depression. The NPF “recommends a holistic, comprehensive approach to depression.” This approach is a combination of antidepressant medication, counseling, exercise, and social support to combat depression.

Additional tips for fighting depression from “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, 4th Ed.” (Bull Publishing Co., 2012) include:

  • Eliminate negative influences such as drinking alcohol, staying isolated, taking painkillers, and being angry and yelling a lot.

  • Do something for someone else like volunteering or lending a friend a hand with a chore or errand.

  • Get some exercise—dancing has been found to be a beneficial activity for people with Parkinson’s disease.

  • Think positively about yourself and quiet the negative self-talk.

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