Health and Fitness,  Mental Health

Living With Parkinsons Disease

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Mental health is an essential aspect of overall well-being, including emotional, psychological and social factors. 

For people living with Parkinson’s disease, understanding its effect on mental health is crucial.  Just as Parkinson’s symptoms vary from person to person, so do mental health challenges. Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience no significant mental health concerns, while others may struggle with depression, anxiety, psychosis or cognitive issues. 

Mental health conditions often show up as non-motor symptoms and can affect daily life to varying degrees. It’s important to recognize and address these effects to ensure a better quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.

Common mental health conditions associated with Parkinson’s disease
Anxiety and depression are prevalent among people with Parkinson’s disease, affecting nearly half of all diagnosed patients. These mental health issues can stem from various sources, including the stress of receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis, concerns about work and finances, or changes in the brain due to the condition itself.

Those living with Parkinson’s disease also may experience challenges in their cognitive function, including slowed speech patterns, memory loss, difficulty focusing and problem focusing. Some people with Parkinson’s disease also experience dementia. And in some cases, that dementia could include dramatic changes in behavior, hallucinations and confusion.

Several factors within and beyond Parkinson’s also can influence overall mental health and, at times, exacerbate symptoms. Sleep disorders, fatigue, apathy and certain Parkinson’s medications can intensify symptoms of mental health conditions. In addition, a person’s baseline personality, coping mechanisms and life circumstances, including family and work dynamics, can also impact their mental well-being.

When to get help
As a general rule, if mental health symptoms interfere with daily functioning, seeking medical advice may be a good idea. Counseling, lifestyle adjustments, medication changes or additional medications can often help alleviate mental health symptoms. 

Many people with Parkinson’s disease report that the mental health conditions they experience often exacerbate their physical symptoms, so it’s essential to manage both physical and mental health as effectively as possible.

It’s essential not to suffer in silence but to reach out for support when needed. This goes for both individuals with Parkinson’s and their family members and loved ones.

People living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers should seek support for both the physical and mental aspects of the condition. Resources like helplines, support groups and online forums can provide valuable assistance and a sense of community for anyone navigating Parkinson’s-related mental health challenges.

In particular, online therapy service BetterHelp can be a tremendous resource for finding the kind of support that’s most helpful to both Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers.

It’s also important to prioritize mental health and practice good self-care habits, like any of the following:

  • Prioritize sleep: Creating a comfortable sleep environment and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can improve sleep quality, which encourages overall well-being.
  • Maintain a balanced diet: Eating a nutritious diet and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, especially at night, can help manage physical symptoms and support mental health.
  • Stay active: Regular physical activity, such as exercise or participation in group activities, has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression and improve mood.
  • Explore relaxation techniques: Engaging in activities you enjoy, like reading or listening to music, and trying relaxation therapies like meditation or massage can promote relaxation and reduce stress. In addition, those with Parkinson’s may find that the practice of mindfulness can help them manage their symptoms.
  • Make connections: It’s important for people with Parkinson’s disease – and their caregivers – to connect with others who are sharing similar experiences. Talking through complex emotions and perspectives can be tremendously helpful. 

Caregiver support
Caregivers play an important role in supporting their loved ones living with Parkinson’s, but it’s essential for them to prioritize their own mental and physical well-being, too. Joining caregiver support groups, participating in activities tailored for caregivers, and accessing online resources can offer valuable support and guidance.

Living with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging, not only because of its physical symptoms, but also because of its impact on mental health. Understanding the mental health effects of Parkinson’s disease is essential for providing comprehensive care and support. 

By addressing anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions alongside physical symptoms, those living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers can enhance their overall well-being and quality of life. 

Overall, remember, you’re not alone – seeking support and connecting with others can make a big difference in managing Parkinson’s-related mental health issues.

One Comment

  • Apart Cy

    Hindi pala biro may ganitong disease
    At dagdag Kaalaman din ito sa akin momshie
    At salamat sa pagbabahagi
    Ang mahalaga we must find a support system

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