Depression in people with Parkinson's disease

Depression is common in people with Parkinson's disease. Scientific studies suggest that depression occurs in about 40% to 70% of people with Parkinson's disease. I was diagnosed with depression shortly after I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

For people with Parkinson's disease, depression is both a symptom of the disease and an emotional reaction to the disease.

Parkinson's disease seems to progress faster in people who are depressed.

Adequate treatment of depression seems to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease, but many people with depression do not receive adequate treatment.

Treatment of depression includes physical activity, counseling, and antidepressant medicines

It is not a sign of mental or emotional weakness if a person needs medicines to treat depression.

It is not a sign of weakness if a person needs medicine to treat physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

I used to hate the idea of taking antidepressants but I have learned that I function much better when I take antidepressants every day.

During the first few years after I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, I did not like the idea of taking antidepressants because I wanted to tough it out and overcome depression without medicine. That attitude was stupid. I stopped taking antidepressants several times, and every time I stopped taking antidepressants, I became more depressed and reached a lower low within a few months.

I have tried a number of different antidepressants and buproprion (Wellbutrin) has been the most effective antidepressant for me. Some SSRI antidepressants made my tremors worse.

My exercise program has given me hope and has helped me fight back against Parkinson's disease and depression.


Services provided

Exercise training: classes, individual training

Counseling patients and families on how to cope with the many challenges of Parkinson's disease, and how to progress toward thriving in spite of these challenges

Public speaking: to patients, health care professionals, and students

Links to photos and videos

Boxing speed bag


Alpine skiing

Hiking to summit of South Sister, Oregon (altitude 10,358 feet)

For more videos, go to my YouTube channel

Exercise is something we have to do for ourselves. No one else can exercise for us and no pills can do for us what exercise does for us. There is no such thing as an exercise pill.