Depression rates and severity of the condition have been shown to increase over time in Parkinson’s patients, according to a new study.
Research has shown that depression in patients newly-diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease develops at an increased rate compared with the general population. A study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and published by the American Academy of Neurology, examined 423 newly-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients and kept track of their mental health for over two years.
At the start of the study 14% of patients with Parkinson’s screened positive for depression, in contrast, of those without Parkinson’s, only 6.6% had depression. After the two years, the number of Parkinson’s patients who were clinically depressed increased to nearly 19%, while the number of those without Parkinson’s saw a decrease to just over 2%.
More than half of people with Parkinson’s can suffer from clinical depression, ranging from mild to severe, with depression being part of the disease process, according to a study by the National Parkinson Foundation.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement with symptoms including shaking (tremors) or slowness of movement as well as mental symptoms such as depression. The disease is more common in men than in women and is usually diagnosed from the age of 50 and older.