I was diagnosed with PD, and I've noticed I don't seem to enjoy the activities I have always done in the past. Nothing is as much fun as before; I lose interest quickly. Is this just part of the disease process?
Yes, it could be. Depression is a common non-motor symptom of PD. According to different sources, as many as 50% - 80% of people living with PD experience depression. Symptoms of depression may include:
· Persistent sadness.
· Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities.
· Changes in appetite.
· Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
These symptoms reduce the quality of life and affect the family, especially your care partner. Symptoms of PD and depression overlap, so diagnosis can be difficult. Fatigue, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, weight loss, slowed thinking, diminished sexual function, and an emotionless face may be expressions of depression but can also be symptoms of PD itself in the absence of depression.
Receiving a diagnosis of any disabling chronic condition, including PD, can also trigger depression. When it originates from an outside source, it is known as situational or reactive depression.
Most researchers believe depression is an intrinsic part of PD in many cases and is caused by the same neurological changes that cause the motor symptoms. Sometimes, depression may precede the diagnosis of PD. Regardless of its cause, depression should be recognized and treated.
Depression, no matter the source, is thankfully one non-motor symptom that can be treated and improved, so it is essential to talk to your doctor if you notice any of the signs listed above. There is no need to suffer silently with depressive feelings, and by seeking help, you will likely improve your quality of life, your well-being, and the impact on your family, especially your care partner.