||Coping with Parkinson's
disease - dealing with stress, emotions and depression
it gets me down and that makes everything worse”
well-being of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their ability to
cope is greatly influenced by their psychological reaction to their
condition. A positive attitude is essential if you are to maintain
self-esteem, keep in good spirits and get the most out of life.
thorough understanding of the nature of PD and its effects will help you
to maintain self-esteem, dispel unreasonable fears, reduce stress and
promote independence. Active involvement in all decisions about the
treatment of your PD will ensure that you feel more in control and so more
confident about the future.
with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are especially vulnerable to stress and
may find it more difficult to deal with than others. This can manifest as
unpleasant emotions such as tension, anger, fear or irritability; physical
symptoms such as sweating, headaches, palpitations and muscular tension;
uncharacteristic behaviours such as avoiding situations or over-reacting;
and deterioration in relationships and coping with social situations.
everyday situations can become stressful for people with PD; for example
when you need to sign your name quickly in front of others, when you go to
pay at the supermarket, or when getting on or off public transport. The
more stressed you are, the worse your symptoms of tremor, rigidity and
unsteadiness will be and this in turn makes it more difficult to cope.
Top of Page
are many approaches you can use to reduce stress. It is important that
you allow yourself plenty of time and do not need to rush. Try to
prioritise activities and set yourself realistic goals to achieve. You
will also benefit from keeping fit and taking regular exercise. Many
find learning relaxation and breathing techniques and meditation or yoga
are useful. Some people may benefit from spending time with a
psychologist or counsellor.
of low mood and anxiety are common in people with PD. They can develop
at any stage and seem to be related more to the underlying chemical
changes in the brain, rather than a
reaction to the problems it can cause. Depression can be helped a great
deal by appropriate medical and psychological treatment. Discussing your
fears and concerns with professionals can help to identify ways to cope
with them and lead you to develop a more positive outlook.
Antidepressant drugs, though not effective immediately, can be useful in
problems, reduced body language and slower thinking associated with PD
can have a big impact on your social life and lead to loneliness and
isolation. You should try to maintain an active social network and
replace lost social contacts with new ones.
and family relationships can also suffer. Don’t hesitate to discuss
openly your concerns about changing personal relationships with those
close to you. Both sides can then make any necessary adjustments to
ensure a continuing and fulfilling relationship.
Discuss your feelings and worries with your
doctors and other professionals, who will be able to refer you for
specialist help if appropriate.
Useful websites include: