Stopping the Spiral Toward Demoralization in Parkinson’s Disease

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Author
Dr. Michael S. Okun

People with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) are at risk of spiraling into a demoralized state. Common symptoms include feeling helpless, hopeless, a sense of failure and incapacitated to respond to stressful situations. Doctors frequently fail to identify or address this issue. There is sparse research and a rare interest in screening for demoralization. In this month’s Whats Hot in PD? column we will address demoralization in Parkinson’s disease and suggest strategies to identify and address this problem.

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What's Hot in PD?

Anxiety

Like people with other chronic diseases, people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often struggle with mental health difficulties. While the illness is known to impair many aspects of movement, research from the Parkinson's Outcomes Project has found that two non- motor symptoms — depression and anxiety — play a key role in the disease as well and its effect on people’s quality of life.

Apathy

Apathy describes a lack of interest, enthusiasm or motivation. It interferes with the effective management of Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms, since apathetic people are less inclined to do things like exercise and follow their medication schedules.

You may be experiencing apathy if you feel that it is increasingly harder to get up and participate in life’s activities. Report this to your health care provider and work with your team to determine the best course of action.

Non-Movement Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is generally thought of as a disease that only involves movement. But in addition to motor symptoms such as slowness of movement, tremor, stiffness and postural instability, most people develop other health problems related to Parkinson's. These symptoms are diverse and collectively known as non-motor symptoms.

Tips for Daily Living: 6 Psychotherapy and Counseling Myths, Debunked

Date
Author
Parkinson's Foundation

In Mood: A Mind's Guide to Parkinson’s, the newest educational book from the Parkinson’s Foundation, we explore mood changes associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD), why people with Parkinson’s might experience these changes and how to treat and cope with them.

Category
Tips for Daily Living

How Common is Cognitive Decline in Parkinson’s?

Date
Author
Parkinson's Foundation

A new study finds that cognitive impairment is a frequent and rapidly progressing symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). About half of the participants who had PD for an average of five years and had normal cognition at the beginning of the study developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) within six years – about 11 years after PD diagnosis. Those few who developed MCI progressed to dementia within five more years. The results appear in the September 11 online edition of Neurology.

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Science News

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