6 Ways Parkinson's Disease Impacts Your Mind

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    What Parkinson's Does to the Mind
    The effects of Parkinson"s disease go far beyond muscle tremors and problems controlling body movements. In most cases, the disease also affects people"s mood and the ability to think normally. It"s important for people with Parkinson"s, their caregivers, and their doctors to check for the following problems and manage them as they develop.



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    1. Cognitive Impairment
    Many people with Parkinson"s disease develop some degree of dementia over time. Often the first symptoms of dementia affect people"s ability to make plans and stick with them, as well as their ability to make decisions and practice behaviors that help them reach their goals. Drugs for the physical symptoms of Parkinson"s disease could be to blame for problems with mental function. Changes in medication can help minimize these side effects.



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    2. Hallucinations
    People with Parkinson"s may have hallucinations, meaning they see people or things that aren"t really there. However, these visions often don"t seem scary to the person with Parkinson"s. Hallucinations may be related to the disease itself or the drugs used to treat it. Other problems, such as dehydration or urinary tract infections, can also play a role in this symptom.



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    3. Trouble Communicating
    Parkinson"s disease can cause many issues that make talking with loved ones more difficult, such as having trouble finding the right word or forming a complex sentence. Comprehension difficulties are another problem. People with this disease often have trouble understanding what others are saying to them.



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    4. Depression
    As many as 80% of people with Parkinson"s disease develop depression. For many, depression is the most troublesome change related to the disease that has the biggest impact on their quality of life. Sometimes the symptoms of depression look like symptoms of Parkinson"s disease. These include confusion and a loss of interest in activities you love. People may not be able to see depression in themselves, but caregivers can help by bringing this problem to a doctor"s attention. There are many effective strategies to end the misery and make things more normal again.



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    5. Anxiety
    Anxiety often strikes along with depression in people with Parkinson"s. Consider them partners in crime...wherever you find depression you might also soon find anxiety lurking. Anxiety may cause nervousness or worrying in general. Anxiety can also surface in the form of panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The anxiety may become worse during "off" times when Parkinson"s drugs aren"t fully controlling the disease.



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    6. Impulse-control Problems
    Many people with Parkinson"s have trouble controlling certain dangerous behaviors, such as compulsive shopping, binge eating, sexual thoughts or activity, and gambling. Impulse control problems may be related to certain Parkinson"s drugs. If medication is the cause, your doctor may be able to stop this side effect by changing the dosage or switching you to a different drug. As always, help is available, but somebody needs to be able to speak on behalf of the individual coping with Parkinson"s.



6 Ways Parkinson's Disease Impacts Your Mind

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