Whilst everyone feels sad from time to time and while people with Parkinson’s Disease may experience grief in reaction to their PD diagnosis, depression is different. Sadness is temporary, but depression is persistent lasting for weeks or longer.
Depression is part of the Parkinson’s Disease itself, resulting in changes in the chemistry of the brain. Development of depression in PD seems more likely to be caused by the nigrostriatal pathway degeneration than because of the awareness of disease prognostic, and it seems to be related to dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and serotoninergic synapses deficits. The dopaminergic role could be more significant, since it can modulate the release of the others, and its depletion is progressive, due to the degenerative feature of PD.
To put simply, PD causes changes in the area in the areas of the brain that produce dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin- chemicals that are involved in regulating mood, energy, motivation, appetite and sleep.
Depression, while common in Parkinson’s Disease is often overlooked and undertreated. It is important to be aware of its symptoms, so that if you experience it, it can be treated effectively. Treating depression is one of the most significant ways to decrease disability and improve quality of life.