People with young onset forms of Parkinsonís disease (PD) face unique challenges Ė among them raising children and maintaining partnerships and relationships while coping with a progressive and chronic illness. Of course, these sorts of challenges also occur for older people with PD, but they may be more pressing for those with young onset PD. An older person with PD may not have a young child calling him ĎDadí or ĎMomí and may not be in the initial and building stages of a sexual and romantic relationship with a partner. People with young onset PD, however, often are just starting families or are still building families and so their challenges are different than those of older people with PD. Recent studies of sexual and relationship satisfaction in couples with young onset PD show that levels of dissatisfaction were prevalent among young onset PD patients. PD patients were similar to their partners in their level of sexual and relationship dissatisfaction. The degree of dissatisfaction did not correlate with disease characteristics. Instead, depression seemed to be fueling the dissatisfaction in sexual and romantic relationships. These findings underlie the importance of treating depression aggressively in people with young onset forms of PD.
Source: Wielinski, C. L., Varpness, S. C., Erickson-Davis, C., Paraschos, A. J., & Parashos, S. A. (2009). Sexual and relationship satisfaction among persons with young onset Parkinsonís disease. Journal of Sexual Medicine. [Epub ahead of print]