Understanding why Depression is Associated with Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a disease of motor functions, characterized by tremor, bradykinesia (slowness of movements), rigidity, and increased risk of fall. All this happens not due to problems in joints or damage to peripheral nerves, rather due to changes in the central nervous system (brain).
For decades, Parkinson’s disease was regarded as the disease of movements only, but slowly the understanding of it is changing. It is no secret that people suffering from Parkinson’s disease are more prone to psychological problems like anxiety and depression. The medical community considered depression in Parkinson’s disease as something that was the result of physical disability and disease.
“D” or depression has attracted lots of attention in the last few decades, especially due to several high-profile suicides related to it. This forced the scientific community to have a second look at the depression related to Parkinson’s disease. It has been found that depression is quite frequently associated with Parkinson’s disease. Almost half of patients suffer from it. 8-25 % of cases of Parkinson’s disease may suffer from major depression(1).
Well, this leads scientists to compare the prevalence of depression in other diseases that were at least more debilitating as compared to Parkinson’s disease. Think about spinal cord injury or post-stroke syndrome, where many people are left completely dependent on others. But when the prevalence of depression in Parkinson’s disease was compared to this kind of disability, it was found that association between Parkinson’s disease and “D” is much more common.