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APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Anxiety in PD

Anxiety can affect quality of life in Parkinson's for both the person with PD and the caregiver/family. Here's what we think are the best resources for info on this symptom.

NOTE: If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Relevant Publications - Downloadable

“Anxiety and Parkinson’s”
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson’s Foundation)
These four webpages summarize four types of anxiety and commonly experienced symptoms of each.  Also outlines are the diagnosis of anxiety, treatment options, and complementary treatments.


“Anxiety and Stress in Parkinson’s Disease,” by Melanie Brandabur, MD
First published in PPSG Newsletter, August/September 2008
In this short article, neurologist Melanie Brandabur, MD, gives an overview of anxiety and stress in PD.


Relevant Online Information

Published by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA)
This webpage discusses different kinds of anxiety disorders, how those with PD my experience anxiety, diagnosing anxiety in people with PD (including two ratings scales used in diagnosing anxiety), how you can help yourself, treatments (including relaxation, medication, counseling, psychotherapy and support groups) and related reading.


Published by Parkinson's Foundation
This eight-page information sheet details at what point anxiety becomes a disorder and what can be done when it does get out of control. Available in both PDF and Word.


"Anxiety and Parkinson's"
Published by Parkinson's Disease Society of the United Kingdom, updated March 2015
This eight-page information sheet details at what point anxiety becomes a disorder and what can be done when it does get out of control. Available in both PDF and Word.


“Anxiety and Parkinson’s: ask the expert,” by Annie Amjad
Published by Parkinson’s UK, May 7, 2018
31% of people with PD will have symptoms of anxiety.  This blog post identifies the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety and the factors that make it more likely someone with PD will experience anxiety.  Treatment options include SSRI medications and psychological treatments, like CBT.  The best coping strategy is to continue doing things that make us anxious, but in a way that allows us to feel in control.  A few ways to do this are outlined.


“Anxiety in PD,” by Dr. Maria DeLeon
Published by deafeatparkinsons.com, March 10, 2017
On this webpage Dr. Maria DeLeon speaks from her own experience, both as a neurologist and young onset patient, about why anxiety is underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  There are several presentations of anxiety and the symptoms mimic many other illnesses.   For the proper diagnosis and the right treatment maintain a diary of symptoms and their timing, frequency, relationship to medication, food, and activity.  Medications to treat are listed.


Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

"A Closer Look at Anxiety and Depression in Parkinson's Disease”
By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson’s Foundation), Expert Briefing, March 6, 2012
The presenter, Dr. Laura Marsh, a geriatric psychiatrst, notes that anxiety and depression can be under-recognized, yet are common symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
Register to view the webinar
Slide presentation


“Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease”
By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson’s Foundation), January 5, 2016
In this 68-minute webinar with slides, Dr. Joseph H. Friedman talks about anxiety in Parkinson’s disease, including treatment options.
Register to view the webinar
Slide Presentation


"Feeling Depressed or Anxious? It May Just be the Parkinson’s,” by Jeff Shaw, PsyD
By the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation and Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon, July 8, 2014
In this 50-minute lecture with slides, psychologist Dr. Jeff Shaw distinguishes between anxiety, apathy, and depression. He acknowledges medications are useful; however, he focuses on awareness of normal psychological responses and strategies to cope for them.  [There are technical difficulties at the beginning with both audio and slide coordination.]


Expert-Level Resources

“Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease: Identification and Management," by Jack J. Chen and Laura Marsh, Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, January 7, 2014
This (essentially) 6-page article recognizes the importance of treating anxiety in PD for quality of life issues for both patient and caregiver, but notes that there is a paucity of treatment data.


This list last updated by Denise Dagan, November 2017. Initially compiled by Robin Riddle for Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach Program, 2012.

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