(PRWEB) November 29, 2012
"Parkinson's disease attacks more than just the body and the mind-- physicians need to consider treatment options that instill spiritual value in depressed individuals," says faith-based website, followme.org.
That statement came today as the National Parkinson's Foundation (NPF) released new findings that depression appears in over 60 percent of Parkinson's patients, according to a USA Today report from Wednesday.
"Nearly everyone thinks of the disease as a mobility disorder but the No. 1 problem turns out to be depression," Joyce Oberdorf, the president of the NPF, told USA Today. Parkinson's affects 1 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide. Its primary indicators are tremors, slow movement, difficulties speaking, and stiffness.
The ongoing NPF study, the Parkinson's Outcome Project, is the largest ever undertaken on Parkinson's, according to USA Today. The project involves 20 research centers in four countries and considers the results of over 5,500 patients, ranging from ages 25 to 95. The results are based on annual health surveys that Parkinson's patients completed, according to a WebMD report from Wednesday.
According to the NPF, 61 percent of Parkinson's patients reported suffering from depression, with 18 percent of patients wrestling from major disorders, USA Today reported.
Why is depression so common among Parkinson's patients? "It's not because they're sad they have the disease, which they may very well be, but this depression is related to underlying changes in the brain and for many it will occur before diagnosis of Parkinson's," Laura Marsh, director of the mental health care service at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, told USA Today.
With these new depression findings, however, comes a need for revised treatment options. Followme.org is a faith-based website that provides spiritual resources for individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, and mental illness. Its leaders say that these new findings open the door to exploring spiritual treatments for Parkinson's and other neurological diseases.
"What physiological treatments cannot address is the pain of purposelessness that accompanies a debilitating disease like Parkinson's. Unfortunately, we live in a world where, if you cannot move, create, and live independently, you are a second-class citizen. Parkinson's patients need to be reminded of a purpose that transcends physical wellness," says Pastor Jamie of followme.org.
"That's where spiritual treatments come in: affirming one's identity beyond a disease," he said.
Time will tell if the NPF study validates alternative Parkinson's treatments. As Oberdorf told USA Today, the initial findings are "just the tip of the iceberg. We're committed to following this for a very long time." Access the full NPF report here.