Prevalence, etiology, and treatment of depression in Parkinson's disease

Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Aug 1;54(3):363-75. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(03)00530-4.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is primarily a disease of elderly individuals with a peak age at onset of 55 to 66 years. It is characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor, and postural instability; and affects approximately 1 million individuals in the US and is the second most common neurodegenerative disease next to Alzheimer's disease. The motor symptoms of PD are the focus of pharmacotherapy, yet the nonmotor symptoms (e.g., dementia, psychosis, anxiety, insomnia, autonomic dysfunction, and mood disturbances) can be the most disturbing, disabling, and misunderstood aspects of the disease. Depressive symptoms occur in approximately half of PD patients and are a significant cause of functional impairment for PD patients. There is accumulating evidence suggesting that depression in PD is secondary to the underlying neuroanatomical degeneration, rather than simply a reaction to the psychosocial stress and disability. The incidence of depression is correlated with changes in central serotonergic function and neurodegeneration of specific cortical and subcortical pathways. Understanding comorbid depression in PD may therefore add to the understanding of the neuroanatomical basis of melancholia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / adverse effects
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Prevalence


  • Antiparkinson Agents