Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and can also cause changes in mood and behaviour. Some common personality changes that may occur in people with Parkinson's disease include depression, anxiety, apathy, and impulse control disorders such as compulsive gambling or shopping. These changes can be caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, which can affect mood regulation. Additionally, Parkinson's disease can also cause problems with memory and cognition.

There is a strong relationship between Parkinson's disease and depression. Clinical depression needs a formal diagnosis by a psychiatrist and is much more intense than ‘’low mood’’. Prolonged feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, demotivation to engage in any goal directed activity, decline in hygiene and sleep patterns are some of the prominent symptoms of clinical depression.

Studies have shown that up to 50% of individuals with Parkinson's disease experience depression, which is higher than the general population. Additionally, Parkinson's disease can also cause problems with memory and cognition, which can contribute to feelings of depression.

The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement, can also lead to the person experiencing feelings of frustration and loss of independence, which can contribute to depression. The disease can cause social isolation, which can also contribute to depression. It is important to address depression in individuals with Parkinson's disease as it can have a negative impact on the management of Parkinson's and quality of life. Depression in Parkinson's disease can be challenging, but there are several strategies that may be helpful.

I am Head of Clinical Operations at Epoch Elder Care, with more than 15 years of nursing experience. At our assisted living homes, we have elderly residents who have Parkinson’s. As clinical professionals, we face these challenging behaviors often. Some of the strategies which we use at Epoch and find useful are given below. These can be implemented at home, based on the doctor’s advice:

An early diagnosis is imperative either by a psychiatrist or neuro-psychiatrist to understand the extent and seriousness of the condition.

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