Cognitive and Mood Disorders in Parkinson's
Updated: Sep 10
Non-motor symptoms can be a major cause of disability in Parkinson’s disease. Depression, Anxiety, Apathy or cognitive impairment can be the greatest factor in determining the person’s quality of life.
Depression is common in people with Parkinson’s disease it often begins years before any of the other symptoms of PD emerge. Depression affects about 50% of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Low motivation to follow any treatment program
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Difficulty with concentration or making decisions
Feelings of worthlessness
Thoughts of death
Anxiety is a common non-motor symptom of PD it affects about 40% of people. It is important to note that people with Parkinson’s may experience anxiety, either because of worries about living with their condition, or because of possible changes in brain chemistry. Anxiety is likely to reduce quality of life, for the person with Parkinson’s and can be stressful for their caregivers.
Can contribute to sleep problems
Uncontrollable or unwanted thoughts
Excessive fear and worry
Cold and sweaty hands
Decreases quality of life
Often accompanied by depression
Apathy is one of the most challenging and baffling non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease it is defined as a feeling of indifference or a general lack of interest, enthusiasm and motivation. It interferes with the effective management of Parkinson's disease symptoms. Apathy can both accompany depression and mimic depression.
Early cognitive changes are different from dementia. The same brain changes that lead to motor symptoms can also result in slowness in memory and thinking. Stress, medication and depression can also contribute to these changes.
Slow mental processing
Problems with working memory
Issues with executive function
Difficulty with multitasking
Impaired spatial function
Dementia affects about 40% of people with living with Parkinson's disease dementia is a decline in thinking and reasoning that develops at least a year after diagnosis. The key brain changes linked to Parkinson’s dementia are abnormal microscopic deposits composed mostly of alpha-synuclein, a protein found widely in the brain with a normal function not yet known. The deposits are called “Lewy bodies” named after the neurologist Frederick H. Lewy, MD who discovered them while working in Dr. Alois Alzheimer’s laboratory during the early 1900s.
Leads to increased mortality
Loss of memory, concentration and judgment
Depression, Irritability and anxiety
Sleep disturbances, excessive daytime drowsiness and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder.
Greatest source of disability in advanced PD
Most common cause for nursing home placement