Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Parkinson’s And Personality Changes

Mild Cognitive Impairment And Dementia

Vlog #9 My experience with Early and Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease and Personality Changes

Cognitive impairment and the development of dementia are increasingly being considered part of the course of Parkinsons disease. Of particular importance, nearly 90% of PD patients with dementia exhibit at least one neuropsychiatric symptom, and 77% have two or more neuropsychiatric symptoms. Risk factors for the development of mild cognitive impairment include older age at disease onset, male gender, depression, severity of motor symptoms, and advanced disease stage .

The prevalence of dementia in PD is estimated at 26% to 44%, with over 80% developing dementia within 20 years of diagnosis. Mild cognitive impairment in people with PD is associated with the development of dementia within 4 years . Depression can exacerbate cognitive impairments in PD, and the frequency of depression in PD is estimated at 25% to 33% .

In a study that examined clusters of neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive status in PD, it was found that in people suffering from hallucinations nearly 80% had dementia in those with mixed neuropsychiatric symptoms nearly 58% had dementia and in those with mild depression 31% had dementia. Patients experiencing hallucinations tended to have longer disease duration, more severe motor symptoms, and older age .

Personality Changes After Heart Attack

While its not uncommon to feel anxious or depressed after a heart attack, these feelings are usually only temporary. However, some people may continue to feel depressed for weeks after the heart attack.

Up to 33 percent of people whove had heart attacks experience depression to some degree.

If your depression is severe, you should see a healthcare provider. Without treatment, it could lead to an increased risk for another heart attack.

Potential Psychological Effects Of Dbs

The past 15 years have seen an increasing amount of research devoted to whether DBS causes psychological changes in PD patients. Such effects are plausible for at least three reasons. First, DBS may impact cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and neuropsychiatic networks because these functional networks are adjacent to the motor fronto-subcortical networks targeted by DBS . Second, living with technological equipment in the brain that alters functioning may present profound challenges to identity . Third, the potential lifestyle changes that occur following DBS may relate to shifting patterns of psychosocial functioning .

Excellent review articles touch upon the psychological effects of DBS, focusing on issues such as impulsivity , psychological variables relevant to neuroethics , acute and enduring psychiatric and neuropsychiatric changes , and measurement of these and other complex changes . Some of these articles reviewed individual studies that assessed variables relevant to the field of personality psychology, such as personality traits , and personality disorders , however, none of the reviews focused primarily on personality changes. Thus, our central aim is to provide a brief but relatively comprehensive evaluation of this research. Before doing so, it is important to frame our review within the context of three relevant issues: defining personality and offering a putative neurobiological basis for personality change following DBS.

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Tips For Managing Behavioral Changes In Parkinsons

Guidance from medical professionals is crucial, but advice from other people with Parkinsons can make the difference between living and thriving. The following are suggestions from MyParkinsonsTeam members to manage the behavioral changes in Parkinsons disease.

  • Find healthy outlets to channel obsessive behaviors, such as art, woodworking, music, or video games.
  • Educate yourself and your loved ones so that others can help identify and manage behavioral symptoms and mood changes.
  • If youre a caregiver or loved one of a person with Parkinsons, be patient and pick your battles. Step away if possible to clear your head before engaging.
  • Take your medications on time and with a meal or snack if advised. Make sure you take your medication as prescribed, and tell your medical team if you have any side effects.
  • If behavioral or personality changes make living arrangements with your spouse too tricky, consider separate living arrangements.
  • If you have Parkinsons, be kind to yourself. If your loved one has it, give them grace while also taking care of your needs and well-being.
  • Its tough to go it alone, so find in-person and online support groups. MyParkinsonsTeam is an excellent place to start.

How Is Parkinson Disease Treated

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Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.

A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.

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Talk With Others Who Understand

MyParkinsonsTeam is the social network for people with Parkinsons disease and their loved ones. On MyParkinsonsTeam, more than 79,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with Parkinsons disease.

Have something to add to the conversation? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on MyParkinsonsTeam.

What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:

  • Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
  • Slow, stiff walking

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Change From Deep Brain Stimulation

When Dad received deep brain stimulation in 2019, we worried that not all of the changes hed experience would be positive. After all, a surgeon was going to drill a hole in his skull. What were the chances that he would be the same person when he emerged from anesthesia? He could lose pivotal connections in his brain. He could lose pieces of who he was.

A study published in the journal Parkinsons Disease in 2015 found that relatives of Parkinsons patients noticed a decrease in premeditation before actions in their loved ones following DBS, which essentially means greater impulsivity. This suggests, at least according to this study, that DBS surgery could have an impact on ones ability to plan their actions. The same study noted that the patients ability to control their emotions after surgery could change.

When my dad came out of surgery, he was worried. It was as if hed been gripped by a bout of panic, and there was no pumping the brakes. Hed chosen to receive the surgery, and nothing he did now could change the outcome. He feared that it mightve done more harm than good. He worried that his tremors would worsen, or that hed lose even more abilities than hed already lost. I worried that Id lost pieces of my dad.

How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed

CareMAP: Thinking Changes Part 1

Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.

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Managing Compulsive And Impulsive Behaviour

Because of the sensitive or private nature of some behaviour it is not easy for family or friends to discuss this with the individual. The person may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing the problem so they may need reassurance that their behaviour does not reflect badly on them and that they can talk in confidence with a healthcare professional.

The person may be unaware of their personality changes so it is very important that family and friends who observe unusual behavioural traits discuss this as soon as possible with their doctor or an appropriate healthcare professional. Although it can be difficult to tackle such sensitive issues, prompt action can usually find effective treatment.

A trial and error approach may be needed as the higher doses of Parkinsons medication required to control motor symptoms may be the cause of the compulsive behaviour. But reducing medication can mean motor symptoms are less well controlled.

Treatment may involve reducing the daily dose of Parkinsons medication, or withdrawing dopamine agonists in favour of levodopa or another type of medication. Any changes should be made gradually to minimise the risk of side effects or withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety or depression. Continuous dopaminergic stimulation , using levodopa/carbidopa or apomorphine for example, has been found to be effective for a number of people.

What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.

Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:

  • Speaking and communicating with others
  • Problem solving
  • Forgetfulness
  • Paying attention

If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.

Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.

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Thinking & Behavior Changes

Vlog #32 Personality and Behaviour Changes in Parkinson

Changes in thinking and memory can be frustrating and frightening for both the person with Parkinsons and the family. The videos on this page will help you understand, acknowledge and adapt to these changes so you can provide the best possible care for your loved one.

Part 1 supplies strategies to help you cope with your loved ones confusion and memory problems. Part 2 addresses how to respond to behavior changes that can occur as a result of hallucinations, delusions and dementia. It is important to remember it is the disease talking, not your loved one. For more information, order your free copies of the Parkinsons Foundation publications Cognition and Psychosis: A Mind Guide to Parkinsons online or by calling our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO .

In 2016, the Parkinsons Foundation hosted a Caregiver Summit that brought together caregivers from all over the U.S. and the world to share experiences and everyday strategies for coping with the complex problems that arise as a result of Parkinsons. If you missed the event, dont worry! All the general sessions were recorded and are available on our YouTube channel.

Watch the video below for a first-hand account of one womans experiences after her husbands diagnosis with what health care professionals call Parkinsons disease psychosis.

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One Of The Most Difficult Neurological Disorder Symptoms Of Parkinsons

Why might this be important to families challenged by PD? Because the biggest source of conflict in families occurs when loved ones fail to recognize that a person with brain changes is not the same person who existed at an earlier time in life. Human beings greatly value continuity in personality but by expecting the person to be the same as they once were, loved ones are unfair to the person with brain insult. This person could no more return to an earlier personality state than he or she can will away tremors or rigidity. Energy expended in any way other than coming to terms with this new person is fruitless. There is actually some fascinating research in this area and it is likely to be a topic for a great deal more discussion in future blogs.

Because of the greater likelihood for executive dysfunction and dementia, personality change is easier to see among individuals with more advanced PD. Motivation is frequently affected, resulting in apathy that diminishes how actively an individual interacts with other people and with the world . Thinking or cognition changes can cause the person to process information more slowly and with less focus and concentration . A previously methodical, consistent individual often becomes increasingly chaotic in their response to their environment . One easily becomes less interested and hopeful about the future .

What Is The Stage Of Onset For Hallucinations And Psychosis In Parkinsons

Hallucinations can begin in the early or later stages of the disease and may increase with severity over time. People experiencing hallucinations prior to 5.5 years in the course of disease typically have more pronounced early motor disturbances and are on high doses of medications. Hallucinations and psychosis that develop in the later phases tend to be associated with cognitive decline.

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Compulsive And Impulsive Behaviour And Parkinson’s

Impulsive and compulsive behaviour is related to dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical messenger in the brain that is primarily affected in Parkinsons. As well as helping to control movement, balance and walking, dopamine also plays a big role in the part of the brain that controls reward and motivation. This is important, as people affected by impulsive and compulsive behaviour are driven or motivated to do something that gives them an instant reward. Some research suggests it is the anticipation of reward that is the driving factor, rather than the reward itself. For example the act of gambling and a potential win is more exciting than the win itself, which is why the behaviour is repeated.

Certain medications are thought to be linked to compulsive and impulsive behaviour, in particular dopamine agonists and, in some cases, levodopa. It is estimated that 17% of people taking dopamine agonists experience some degree of compulsive or impulsive behaviour whilst approximately 7% of people taking levodopa and other types of medication are affected1. The mechanism between medication and changes in behaviour is not yet clear and is likely to vary as individuals each respond differently to a particular medication. However, stimulation of D3 receptor sites, as witnessed in other psychiatric disorders, might be one explanation as its involvement in mediating the incentive motivational effects of other drugs is recognised.


Review Of Empirical Research

Ten Tips for Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers

Against this complicated backdrop, we examine empirical evidence pertaining to personality change following DBS. We evaluate the types of methods used to study this question, and we summarize and integrate research findings across personality characteristics. Finally, we list a number of strategies for advancing research.

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Lyme Disease Personality Changes

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease, which is transmitted to people from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, may include physical signs, such as a rash, and psychological signs, including mood swings.

In a 2012 study, nearly a quarter of people in the early stages of Lyme disease reported feeling irritable. Roughly 10 percent of the people said they felt anxious.

Medications Of Parkinsons Disease Can Change Moods

The medications for Parkinsons disease can cause some emotional and behavioral problem also.

Medications which are used for Parkinsons disease can cause side effects in the form of psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, and paranoia. The severity of side effects varies from mild to very troublesome.

How to help: In mood disorder with Parkinsons disease

There are many ways the caregivers can help Parkinsons disease patients with emotional problems and mood swings. These are

  • Therapy: Allowing your loved one to undergo psychotherapy is an important step in dealing with various symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood changes. The psychotherapist can help the patient to understand their moods related problems and also why it happened to them. They can teach the caregivers how to take care of patients.
  • Medication: Some Parkinsons medications either help in dealing with mood problem or they may worsen the mood-related issues. These medications, Exercise can aggravate the hallucinations or psychosis and mood-related issue. Dosages of medication should be titrated well to overcome its side effects or one can go for new anti-parkinsons medications.
  • Socialization: Re-establishing a persons rapport with the outside environment requires motivation and support of the family members. When patients feel uncomfortable we need to help them find a way and teach them to deal with the problems they are facing.

Personality Changes in Parkinsons Disease:

Dr. Paresh Doshi

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The Parkinsonian Personality: More Than Just A Trait


Since 1913 patients with Parkinson’s disease have been described as particularly industrious, devoted to hard work, inflexible, punctual, cautious, and moralist . These psychological characteristics have been so constantly reported that the concept of Parkinsonian personality emerged. In this regards, in the last few years PD patients have been evaluated according to several models of personality assessment , with the Big Five Model and the Cloninger’s Psychobiological Model as the most used. Studies following the BFM reported that PD patients presented high levels of Neuroticism and low levels of both Openness and Extraversion , while studies using the CPM described the temperament of PD patients as characterized by low Novelty Seeking and high Harm Avoidance . As a matter of fact, the high HA could be responsible for the Parkinsonians’ tendency to be cautious, fearful, pessimistic and shy, while the low levels of NS could account for the tendency to be unsocial, frugal and orderly. Under different points of view, the Parkinsonian personality, as it has been consistently reported in literature , shares several clinical features with the obsessive compulsive personality disorder as classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders .

On the contrary, nowadays there is a limited amount of studies using the DSM criteria.

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