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Is Anxiety Part Of The Parkinson'so Disease Process?

Is Anxiety Part Of The Parkinson'so Disease Process?

My husband has had a dramatic increase in anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication has not been effective. I wonder if this is a common occurrence of the disease process. Had anyone else had this problem? If so, what did you do to help with your anxiety?

posted February 21, 2016
A MyParkinsonsTeam Member

Yes, anxiety is a direct symptom of Parkinson's because the parts of the brain affected by the dying off of dompamine producing cells also not only controls movement but also has a role in the management of emotions. So it is more that just a kind of worry that could accompany any long term condition. My partner had anxiety as early as his 20s and appears to have been part of him early onset of PD. He has PD related depression and takes venlafaxine, an antidepressant that also has a slightly sedating effect. Physical exercise, chanting, meditation and massage all help him. It also helps him if he just speaks out about whatever is worrying him; we think CBT would help but are having difficulty accessing it.

posted December 2, 2016
A MyParkinsonsTeam Member

Hi, yes, especially in early onset PD, anxiety is part of the disease. It's because the parts of the brain that are affected sit next to to bit that does " fight or flight". My hunch is that tablets won't tackle it because it is neurological in origin and anti - anxiety meds just aren't very effective, and can be addictive too. My husband can get very anxious and a bit obsessive about particular things. We use some cognitive strategies ( I used to be a mental health social worker so I know about some of this). Breathing techniques work very well for calming down an anxiety attack. Once calm, he finds it helpful to state the thoughts he was having that were making him fearful. Then we talk about those fears and rationalise them together. When he is alone, he now finds that the breathing techniques can be enough to head off an anxiety attack. As a carer it is horrible to see your loved one so tormented, and it has been comforting for both of us to find strategies that I can coax and coach him through, because they do work, and it keeps us communicating and is good for strengthening our relationship.

posted February 22, 2016
A MyParkinsonsTeam Member

Another thing I haven't mentioned is that a friend of ours who is a masseur and she has taught me some basic massage routines to use on my husband, just short 15 minute treatments. Sometimes, touch is more soothing and helpful than trying to process things through words, it's more simple and direct.

posted February 23, 2016
A MyParkinsonsTeam Member

Yes it is common. That is how it started for my husband. He ended up in the hospital with an Afib and for the next 15 days he went in and out of hospitals. We couldn't figure it out but the doctors kept saying it was anxiety and panic. We looked at each other like 2 deers looking in headlights (what the heck is that?) well, it was horrible, simply the end of the world. no one would help us. I finally told the last hospital that they better admit him cause we don't know what is going on, he can't eat, he acts like its a heart attack and we need help, please. This nice doctor finally said yes. I got Jim eating bananas (yeah..bananas… the only thing he could tolerate). He had lost 15 pounds in 15 days and he started out at 145, now you know why we were concerned. After a week we got him better but he still needed some help, 1 month after this he was diagnosed with parkinsons. 3 years later, currently, he is back on his feet. We moved to the mountains where there is less stress, to a small friendly city. I got him volunteering at a food pantry and he is doing awesome!!! You would not even know he had gone thru this ordeal. He does still take medication but he is 100% better.

posted February 22, 2016
A MyParkinsonsTeam Member

Wife JV with PD takes clonazapam at night, a muscle relaxer and sleep aid. She is a dedicated exerciser, walks, swims, plays tennis. Does yoga, meditation (not regularly).

posted March 6, 2016

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