Living with Parkinson's

Anxiety & Depression

Mental Health Matters

Symptoms of depression and anxiety are extremely common among those with Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests that over half of individuals diagnosed with PD will experience these conditions at some point during their illness. Though it’s important for everyone to take care of their mental health, addressing depression and anxiety is essential for those with PD in order to maintain key components of disease management such as exercise and social connection.

  • Though it is very common to respond to a diagnosis like PD with feelings of grief, depression is different as it persists for longer periods of time. Just like tremor and muscle stiffness, depression is a symptom of PD itself due to the changes in brain chemicals that regulate mood and energy such as dopamine and serotonin.
  • Everyone experiences mood changes differently, but some common signs of depression include sadness, loss of interest in things that once brought joy, changes in appetite and sleep, and irritability. Symptoms of anxiety can include feelings of worry, restlessness, or panic.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing changes in mood. There has been success in treating PD-related depression and anxiety with medications, counseling, support groups, and lifestyle changes such as exercise regimes and social events.
  • Depression and anxiety are very common among those caring for a loved one with PD as well. It can be heartbreaking to see a loved one struggle with a chronic disease, and providing care and support can be extremely stressful. It is important to make time to talk to your own provider if you are experiencing persistent mood changes. Therapeutic counseling and caregiver support groups can help, along with stress-reducing activities such as yoga and meditation.
  • Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon provides short-term counseling for depression and anxiety as well as assistance connecting with therapeutic activities and appropriate counseling support in your community.

Seeking Help

Assessment and referral

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, be sure to discuss with your physician. Relief may come in many forms and together you can plan an approach that works for you. If you need help finding a counselor for long term support, your doctor, insurance company or PRO can help identify options.

Seeking Help

Assessment and referral

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, be sure to discuss with your physician. Relief may come in many forms and together you can plan an approach that works for you. If you need help finding a counselor for long term support, your doctor, insurance company or PRO can help identify options.