6 Most Common Emotional Effects of Parkinson’s Disease

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In addition to compromising motor skills, Parkinson’s can also affect emotional health and stability. This disease impacts the production of important chemicals in the brain, often leading to a wide variety of behavioral and psychological problems. Here’s a closer look at six of the most common emotional effects of Parkinson’s and some steps that can be taken to combat these issues.

1. Depression

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can greatly increase the risk of depression. One recent study published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences revealed that just over 36 percent of all people with Parkinson’s will develop clinical depression at some point. To treat this condition, seniors should meet with experienced certified therapists or counselors. These mental health professionals can come up with long-term treatment plans for depression. 

2. Social Isolation

There are a few different reasons so many people who have Parkinson’s withdraw from the world. Depression is a major risk factor for social isolation, but self-consciousness can play a role as well. As motor skills deteriorate, seniors might be wary of eating out in public or spending time with friends. Luckily, many of the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s can be partially mitigated with proper medication and physical therapy.

For families living in Potomac, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

3. Impulsive Behavior

When an individual has Parkinson’s, the area of the brain responsible for producing and regulating dopamine becomes damaged. Over time, this can lead to impulsive or destructive behavior. Seniors who used to be reasonable and well-adjusted might turn to binge eating, substance abuse, addictive gambling, or hypersexuality. To curb those behaviors, most experts suggest seniors with Parkinson’s take prescription dopamine promoters.

4. Aggressive Behavior

In addition to exhibiting impulsive behavior, seniors with Parkinson’s can also become very aggressive. This symptom usually occurs in the later stages of Parkinson’s, and seniors most likely need professional assistance at that point. Treating aggression generally requires a mixture of prescription medications, therapy, and healthy lifestyle habits. Many older adults with Parkinson’s also benefit from being in soothing environments that aren’t hectic or noisy.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of Home Care Potomac families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

5. Psychosis

Psychosis isn’t extremely common among seniors with Parkinson’s, and it’s usually associated with a poor quality of life or ineffective care. As the disease progresses, some seniors might experience auditory or visual hallucinations. Others might have vivid dreams that are nearly impossible to differentiate from reality. Treating psychosis is a complicated process, and there isn’t a single treatment or therapy that works for everyone.

6. Paranoia

This symptom usually appears when the disease has damaged the areas of the brain responsible for critical thinking and memory. Instead of trying to argue with your loved one when he or she is being paranoid or accusatory, listen to what he or she has to say. In many cases, your loved one will calm down if he or she feels like someone is genuinely listening. 

Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging, and both seniors and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Potomac elderly home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. If you need professional home care for your aging loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care today at (301) 363-2580.