Parkinson’s disease and depression

Depression is one of the common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease; with as many as 50 per cent of people with Parkinson’s experiencing the symptoms of clinical depression at some stage of the disease.

Although living with Parkinson’s can certainly be challenging, and the diagnosis can be frightening at first, depression in people with Parkinson’s may be caused by the chemical and physical changes in the area of the brain that affect mood, as well as movement. In fact, depression may be an early symptom of the disease, with some people experiencing depression up to a decade or more before experiencing any motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Depression can be one of the most disabling symptoms of the disease. But, it is important to know it can be treated. As much as possible, remain socially engaged and physically active. Resist the urge to isolate yourself. You may want to consult a psychologist and there are medications that help relieve depression in people with Parkinson’s, including nortriptyline and citalopram (Celexa.)

For more information, refer to our Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

For information and support on living well with Parkinson's disease, call our toll-free Information and Referral line at 1-800-565-3000 or contact a regional office near you.