Spotting the Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Dr. Sarah Lageman shares information about the symptoms of depression and anxiety, common non-motor problems in Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s.  Dr. Lageman leads the neuropsychology program at the PMDC.

Depression and anxiety are common non-motor symptoms for both Essential Tremor (ET) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).  These symptoms are rated as more disabling than motor symptoms and negatively impact quality of life.

Stress (like the holiday season) can make these symptoms worse.  Contact your health care team if you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of depression or anxiety.  Both are treatable with medication and/or talk therapy.

Depression is a feeling of sadness or loss of interest that lasts more than two weeks.  Common emotional and physical symptoms of depression can include:

  • Feeling down, depressed, hopeless or sad
  • Loss of interest/pleasure in activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Sleep issues (increased or decreased need for sleep)
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feelings of being agitated or keyed up or feeling slowed down
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Decreased concentration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts or plans
    If you feel like you are going to hurt yourself, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 9-1-1

Symptoms of anxiety vary and can be emotional, cognitive and/or physical, including:

  • Feeling nervous or worried
  • Difficulty stopping or controlling your worry
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing (your mind goes blank)
  • Forgetfulness
  • Running thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Muscle Tension, headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shaking
  • Tremor
  • Worsening of symptoms with stress

Both depression and anxiety are treatable with medication and/or talk therapy.  Research has shown that a combination of both medication and therapy is the most effective in treating depression.

New research has also shown that not treating your depression can negatively impact your motor and cognitive symptoms, functional disability level, and other psychiatric issues.

Your movement disorder neurologist can help manage depression and anxiety, and will understand how these interact with your movement disorder.  Ask for referrals for specialists from your movement disorders neurologist, or members of your support group.  Be sure to ask your insurance company to explain what services are covered under your policy.

Our team of specialists is available to help.  Call (804) 662-9185 to make an appointment.

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About aperseghin

Andrea Perseghin is the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the VCU PMDC. She manages all of the educational programming for the center -- and is lost without her iPhone alerts.

View all posts by aperseghin

4 Responses to “Spotting the Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety”

  1. Maheen Ahmed Says:

    Once the anxious mind no longer stimulates the stress response, you will instantly start to feel more like your old good self again. Also, you need to learn how to prevent your panic attacks or anxiety from occurring by simply short-circuiting the loop and putting an end to the fear of fear. Learn more about it

  2. Sheryl G. Overton Says:

    Stress and depression can be really harmful that is why it is important to seek help especially when depressed. I think stress can also trigger depression. When i’m stressed and when i think too much about it, i become depressed about it. So i think these two are connected and when you are depressed or stressed, you can’t sleep.


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