Sunday, 17 August 2014


Depression and anxiety are twice as common in people newly-diagnosed with Parkinson's disease compared with the general population. Research suggests that the disease's impact on the brain can be a trigger for depression.

Dr Daniel Weintraub, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said "There are psychological reasons why people who have been diagnosed with a neuro-degenerative disease like Parkinson's can become depressed, but their brain pathways are also affected by the disease and these are closely associated with mood."

Depression, however, can be a sign of Parkinson's. It can also be a side effect of Parkinson's drugs. 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.

After Robin Williams died in an apparent suicide last week, it emerged the actor - who had depression - was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.

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