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Anxiety In Parkinson’s Disease

Guidelines For Cbt For Depression And Anxiety In Parkinsons Disease

Ask the MD: Depression and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease

In terms of which patients it is appropriate to use CBT with, we suggest that this treatment is utilized in PD patients who do not have dementia. In trials we have typically excluded patients who score less than 24 on the Mini Mental State Examination. It is also helpful if the patient expresses some degree of willingness to attend psychotherapy, those who have been referred by a partner/carer but who are reluctant to attend of their own accord may be difficult to engage in therapy. In a recent book on CBT with older people, guidelines for working with clients with chronicity and comorbidity, Laidlaw updated previous recommendations that clinicians may find useful when working with clients presenting with depression and anxiety in PD . These include

The final stage of CBT involves individualized relapse prevention to ensure CBT is continued. The aim of CBT is for the person to become their own therapist and to continue to use the cognitive techniques of thought diaries, behavioral experiments, and behavioral activation to challenge negative cognitions and symptoms of depression and anxiety in the future.

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Reviewanxiety: An Ignored Aspect Of Parkinsons Disease Lacking Attention

Anxiety is a neuropsychiatric complication of Parkinsons disease .

Anxiety has been given less attention while treating PD.

Management of anxiety is crucial to improve quality of life of the affected patients.

Use of complementary based medicines could be beneficial.

Alternative approaches will lead to novel therapeutic treatment for PD and various complications associated with it.

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Types Of Anxiety Disorders Found In Parkinson’s Disease

Generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, phobic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified have all been identified in patients with Parkinson’s disease . The diagnoses in the patients with Parkinson’s disease appear to be clustered in the panic disorder, phobic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder areas.

Box 1: Anxiety disorders found in Parkinson’s disease

  • Generalised anxiety disorder

Assessing And Diagnosing Anxiety In Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson disease and anxiety

This grant builds upon the research from a prior grant: Comparitive gene expression analysis of the brain in Parkinson’s Disease and in familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies : implications for pathogenesis

Promising Outcomes of Original Grant:A previous MJFF sponsored study showed that the available anxiety questionnaires are not suitable to assess anxiety in Parkinsons disease . The different rating scales measure different aspects of anxiety, such as persistent anxiety or panic attacks, and none is specifically suited to rate anxiety related to motor states . Thus, the different rating scales do not capture the full spectrum of anxiety in patients with PD, and each identifies patients with different symptoms. In addition, some of the rating scales are more sensitive for depressive than for anxiety symptoms.

Objectives for Supplemental Investigation: The main objective of this study is to design a new anxiety rating scale that fulfills clinometric requirements. Based on a number of statistical analyses, sensitive items that cover the full range and severity of anxiety symptoms will be selected out of the database from the previous study and included in the new scale. This new scale will then be validated in a new PD population.

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Contact Our Information And Referral Helpline

The Parkinson Canada Information and Referral Helpline is a toll-free Canada-wide number for people living with Parkinsons, their caregivers and health care professionals. We provide free and confidential non-medical information and referral services. When you have questions or need assistance, our information and referral staff help connect you with resources and community programs and services that can help you. We provide help by phone or email, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. ET.

Anxiety And Parkinsons Research

What does this finding mean for the future of diagnosis or treatment of Parkinsons? Ongoing research is compelling, says Pontone. Part of what we are doing is looking at anxiety disorders that occur long before the onset of Parkinsons to see if there are characteristics that may differentiate that anxiety or predict an increased risk of Parkinsons disease.

Meanwhile, because theres an established link between anxiety and Parkinsons disease, patients and their families should be upfront with their doctors about anxiety symptoms. Behavioral therapy and medications for example, anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants can effectively treat anxiety disorders. Theres no need for anyone to suffer in silence.

Targeting Parkinsons-Linked Protein Could Neutralize 2 of the Diseases Causes

Researchers report they have discovered how two problem proteins known to cause Parkinsons disease are chemically linked, suggesting that someday, both could be neutralized by a single drug designed to target the link.

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Mood Changes In Parkinson’s

When faced with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease , it is understandable to feel depressed or anxious. But mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are clinical symptoms of Parkinson’s, just as are slowness of movement and tremor. In fact, up to half of all people with Parkinson’s may suffer from depression and/or anxiety at some point during the course of their disease. Like all symptoms of PD, mood changes are different for different people. Some people with depression feel sad and lose interest in things they used to enjoy, while others feel irritable and have difficulty sleeping. People with anxiety often feel overly worried or concerned, or say they are “on edge.”

The good news: Over the past decade, researchers have placed increasing focus on these aspects of PD, and today we have a better understanding of how to treat mood disorders in Parkinson’s.

Managing Depression In Parkinsons Disease

Anxiety in Parkinsons Disease

People with Parkinsons, family members and caregivers may not always recognize the signs of depression and anxiety. If you are experiencing depression as a symptom of Parkinsons, it is important to know it can be treated.

Here are some suggestions:

  • For information and support on living well with Parkinsons disease, contact our Information and Referral line.
  • As much as possible, remain socially engaged and physically active. Resist the urge to isolate yourself.
  • You may want to consult a psychologist and there are medications that help relieve depression in people with Parkinsons, including nortriptyline and citalopram .

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What Depression Looks Like

Depression isnât the same for everyone. You might feel sad or lose interest in things you normally enjoy. You might feel upset and edgy. You could have trouble sleeping. Itâs more than just feeling sad.

It isnât always easy to spot, especially in yourself. Your family, friends, or doctor may notice it before you do.

Symptoms of depression often include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble paying attention

What Treatment Is Available

There are many things you can do that may help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Learning how to relax, recognising triggers that make you anxious and regular exercise can all help to control anxiety. Reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine , particularly late in the evening, may also help, as these can intensify anxiety symptoms.

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Apda In Your Community

APDAUncategorizedAnxiety in Parkinsons Disease

It is normal to feel anxious at times. We worry about our children, our spouses, our friend, our finances, arriving on time for an appointment. There is always something to worry about. But some people worry too much. They worry to the point that it interferes with their lives. An appropriate amount of anxiety is a necessity for a normal life. But where appropriate crosses the line to inappropriate is not always clear.

We consider a person to suffer from an anxiety disorder if they have excessive fears or concerns that are beyond what is considered reasonable. It is normal to worry about your adult childrens health but so much that you call them every hour. The psychiatrists divide anxiety into a number of different forms, but for our purposes, we can consider anxiety a disorder in which someone worries too much about a problem, whether a possible problem, like what will I do if my roof caves in, or an actual problem, like how will I pay the mortgage this month.

Anxiety occasionally appears as an isolated problem, but a large percentage of PWP who suffer anxiety often suffer from depression as well. And both anxiety and depression, like all behavioral problems, is increased in people who have memory and cognitive problems.

Anxiety is a common and underappreciated mental health issue, which should be brought to the attention of the doctors.

Prevalence And Impact Of Anxiety And Depression In Parkinsons Disease


Depression in PD is very common, with prevalence rates ranging from 50 per cent to 75 per cent . PD patients with depression have faster cognitive and motor decline and poorer quality of life and increased mortality compared to non-depressed PD patients . The prevalence of anxiety disorders in PD varies from 25 to 45 per cent, and anxiety disorders are frequently comorbid with depression . PD patients with depression and comorbid anxiety have more severe PD symptoms, show poorer response to treatment for depression, and have higher functional impairment .

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How To Find Out If You Have Anxiety Or Depression

If you notice these symptoms, if friends and family members have seen changes in your mood, or if you just donât feel like yourself lately, talk to your doctor.

Your doctor or a mental health professional can tell you if you have anxiety or depression. Theyâll ask you questions about how you feel, mood changes, and symptoms that can be linked anxiety or depression.

To find a mental health professional, ask your doctor or loved one for a recommendation. If youâre part of a support group or know others with Parkinsonâs, ask them if they know someone.

Help For Depression And Anxiety

Depression is a serious matter for anyone. For people with Parkinson’s, it can affect critical elements of disease management such as staying socially connected, exercising and proactively seeking needed care.

It is not always easy to recognize depression in oneself. Be on the lookout for a lack of interest in activities and situations that once brought you joy. Pay attention to observations made by family and friends, and talk to your doctor if you’re not feeling like yourself. Sometimes, your physicians may not even ask you about these conditions if you don’t mention changes in mood or outlook.

Depression and anxiety can be treated with medications, lifestyle changes , and therapy or counseling with a qualified practitioner. Support groups also may be a source of help.

NOTE: If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at or visit

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy For Depression And Anxiety In Parkinsons Disease

Article type: Review Article

Authors: Egan, Sarah J.a * | Laidlaw, Kenb | Starkstein, Sergioc

Affiliations: School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, WA, Australia | Department of Clinical Psychology, The University of East Anglia, Norfolk, UK | School of Psychiatry, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA, Australia

Correspondence: Correspondence to: Sarah Egan, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth,WA 6845, Australia. Tel.: +61 89266 2367

Keywords: Parkinsons disease, anxiety, depression, model, CBT

DOI: 10.3233/JPD-150542

Journal: Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 443-451, 2015


Evidence is reviewed demonstrating that cognitive behavior therapy is effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety in Parkinsons disease. The aims were to review the extant literature, specify a model of cognitive and behavioral maintenance factors in depression and anxiety in Parkinsons disease and provide a guide to treatment. It is argued that treatment should take into account specific cognitive and behavioral maintaining factors. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are highly prevalent in Parkinsons disease and therapists should consider how to augment the efficacy of CBT for patients with Parkinsons disease. Cognitive and behavioral interventions can help people overcome some of the challenges in living with PD by maximizing wellbeing and overall quality of life.

Identifying And Treating Depression

Depression & Anxiety in Parkinson’s and How to Manage Them

Between 17 to 50 percent of patients with Parkinsons have depression. Depression and Parkinsons have so many similar-looking symptoms that it is hard to tell the difference between them.

Its important to note, however, that depression is not a reaction to the disability. Rather, it seems to be related to the degeneration of specific neurons in Parkinsons disease itself.

Typical symptoms include:

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Anxiety And Parkinsons: Ask The Expert

Amjad explains that 31% of people with PD will have symptoms of anxiety. This blog post identifies the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety and the factors that make it more likely someone with PD will experience anxiety. Treatment options include SSRI medications and psychological treatments, like CBT. The best coping strategy is to continue doing things that make us anxious, but in a way that allows us to feel in control. A few ways to do this are outlined.

Anxiety And Parkinsons Disease

This 2-page fact sheet explains that there are four types of anxiety. It outlines the psychological and biological factors that contribute to feelings of anxiety, as well as how anxiety is diagnosed and treated with both psychotherapy and non-conventional therapies. Tips for living with anxiety are also outlined.

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What Anxiety Looks Like

Anxiety often feels like extreme worry or fear. Itâs more than everyday worries or nerves. It can get in the way of your daily life. You might have trouble sleeping or sudden waves of fear. You could have physical symptoms too, like nausea, a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness.

Anxiety can also lead to avoiding thigs you used to enjoy. You may stay away from social situations because you worry about your symptoms and feel embarrassed around others. Or you might fear being left alone or not being able to function on your own.

Symptoms of anxiety often include:

  • Extra worry or fear
  • Worry about upcoming events

Discuss With Your Physician

Expert Briefing Webinar: Anxiety in Parkinsons Disease ...

Non-motor symptoms can sometimes be difficult to recognize. Therefore, it is important to make your doctor aware of them.

One useful resource is the PD NMS Questionnaire. You can use this to record your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.

Dr. Ron Postuma, whose research was funded by donations to the Parkinson Canada Research Program, has also developed tools to help people with Parkinsons and their physicians identify and manage non-motor symptoms.

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Anxiety And Depression In Parkinsons And How To Manage Them

Approximately 50-60% of people living with Parkinsons experience varying levels of depression and anxiety. Learn about the differences between depression and anxiety and how they are related different types of depression and anxiety causes of depression and anxiety in people living with PD when and how to treat depression and/or anxiety the latest in treatments, including non-pharmacological interventions. The speaker is Gregory Pontone, MD, director, Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease Neuropsychiatry Clinic.

Anxiety And Laterality Of Parkinson’s Disease

A number of studies have examined the relationship between anxiety and laterality of parkinsonian symptoms. These studies have shown that anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease was associated with mainly left sided symptoms. If anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease was a psychological response to disability, then patients with right sided parkinsonism would be expected to be more anxious: in fact the opposite is the case.

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Treatment For Anxiety And Depression

Your doctor might suggest medication, talk therapy, and lifestyle changes like exercise and social activities. Many doctors find that a combination of treatments works best.

Everyoneâs different, so the doctor will base your treatment on your needs. Be patient. It may take time to figure out what works best for you.

Your doctor can prescribe antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs, or benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety medications. They might adjust the levels of your Parkinsonâs medications to see how it impacts your mood.

Talk therapy, which is also called psychotherapy, can help you understand your anxiety and depression and give you tools to manage your symptoms.

Your therapist may try cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to help you change negative thought patterns and learn how to react to situations in a better way.

You can also get help through group therapy or support groups. Theyâre good for connecting with other people who relate to what youâre going through, sharing your thoughts, and learning from other peopleâs experiences.

What The Research Says

Vlog #23 Stress and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers believe that depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s are due to changes in brain chemistry that are caused by the disease itself. The same pathways that create dopamine in the brain which are impacted in PD also create the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite and sleep. Scientists think that the effect of Parkinson’s on serotonin, as well as other brain chemicals that support mood, is responsible for symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation actively pursues research that can shed light on the connection between mood changes and Parkinson’s and lead to treatment breakthroughs for people living with the disease. The MJFF-funded Study of Antidepressants in Parkinson’s Disease found that certain antidepressants eased depression in people with Parkinson’s without worsening movement symptoms. Still, more work remains to find more and better treatments for depression and anxiety. Researchers are looking at several different therapies: medications such as buspirone for anxiety, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy and non-invasive brain stimulation for both depression and anxiety. Join recruiting studies in your area through MJFF’s online tool Fox Trial Finder.

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