Depression & Anxiety
Depression is a mood disorder that affects how we think and feel. Depression can replace hope, joy, positivity, self confidence, and possibilities with hopelessness, sadness, insecurity,
and impossibilities. Depression can ‘color our world with shades of gray'. Symptoms of depression include
- memory problems
- sleepiness, or insomnia
- poor concentration
- loss of enjoyment in social activities and hobbies
- loss of appetite or increased appetite
- decreased libido
- feeling of hopelessness or guilt
- excessive worrying
- feeling of worthlessness
- failure and even suicidal thoughts
- apathy or amotivation
Parkinson’s and depression
Many people with Parkinson’s experience depression. In fact, research studies report that up to 50% of people with Parkinson’s experience symptoms of depression. Depression can begin before the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s have become obvious otherwise termed a preclinical symptom. The cause of depression in Parkinson’s is thought to occur from
- biochemical changes (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) in brain regions that influence mood.
- circumstances and frustrations such as a reaction or response to your Parkinson’s diagnosis, life worries, social isolation, loneliness, or secondary to chronic frustrations when symptoms cause problems with everyday tasks.
- Depression can be present at all times, as a reaction to having a bad day
- As a wear off symptoms experieinced before the next dose of medicine is due.
Anxiety is experienced as nervousness, worrying,
feeling jittery, having an unsettled mind or inability to stop thoughts that interfere with daily activities or sleep. Anxiety can affect our ability to concentrate, attend to details, and effect our social interactions. Common physiologic changes associated with anxiety include
- palpitations, racing pulse
- atypical chest pain,
- nausea, loss of appetite
- muscle tightness (especially in the neck, shoulder and trunk), and headache.
Anxiety can occur from changes in brain regions that influence mood. Anxiety can be present throughout the day, during the medication off period, or surface sporadically as a panic attack. Some people with Parkinson’s describe worsening phobias or anxiety producing situations such as fear of crowded spaces.
Parkinson’s and Anxiety
Anxiety can be part of your ‘worries’ about diagnosis, your future, or other life concerns. In addition, anxiety can be a symptom of Parkinson’s. It can be constant or change with your changing movement symptoms. For example, feelings of anxiousness can occur when Parkinson’s medications wear off usually prior to when the next dose is due. Certain movement symptoms can increase or worsen with anxiety, especially tremor and gait freezing. When anxiety is coupled to your movement problems, one problem can worsen the other, like a snowball effect. This is familiar to you if you have tremor as you may have noticed tremor increases at times of stress or anxiety and the increased tremor, in turn, increases anxiety. In addition to tremor, anxiety can worsen off states, dyskinesia, and motor initiation or freezing. Anxiety can cause or worsen restlessness, sleeplessness, fatigue, pain, bladder urgency, and even increase your sensitivity to medicines and their side effects. All in all anxiety can rob you of much needed energy.