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Anxiety in Parkinson's Disease

By August 28, 2009

One of the hardest symptoms to bear when you have Parkinson's disease is anxiety. Some forms of anxiety in PD are easy to understand. We are anxious over how the complications of PD will affect money and family life—not to mention our own well-being. But there are other forms of anxiety that seem to be an intrinsic part of the disease-not just a reaction to the disease. These intrinsic forms of anxiety can make you feel like you are going crazy. The fear seems irrational and yet uncontrollable. Something horrible is about to happen and I am powerless to do anything about it-or so it feels. Recent studies of anxiety in PD show that up to half of PD patients experience some form of anxiety at one point in their lives. The most common form of anxiety after diagnosis of PD appears to be “Anxiety disorder not otherwise specified”---in other words an anxiety disorder that is atypical and not well studied by the psychiatrists. In short, anxiety disorders of PD are not well understood and because of that they are probably not well treated either. If you are experiencing anxiety, talk to your doctor about it. When fears and worries are shared they lose their hold on us. Its time to bring anxiety disorders of PD out of the shadows and into the realm of rational understanding and treatment.

Gregory M. Pontone, James R. Williams, Karen E. Anderson, Gary Chase, Susanne A. Goldstein, Stephen Grill, Elaina S. Hirsch, Susan Lehmann, John T. Little, Russell L. Margolis, Peter V. Rabins, Howard D. Weiss, Laura MarshPrevalence of anxiety disorders and anxiety subtypes in patients with Parkinson's disease (p 1333-1338). Published Online: May 7 2009 Movement Disorders, Volume 24, Issue 9 (p 1333-1338)

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