Stanford Parkinson's
Community Outreach

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

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 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.


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: 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, 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.


“The Relationship Between Stress, Anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease,” by Dr. Rebecca Gilbert
Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), June 17, 2019
This blog post explains that stress and anxiety can be difficult to discern from one another because they manifest in indistinguishable ways.  PD symptoms worsen and can become less responsive to medication during periods of stress.  Adding medications to control anxiety can be helpful, but lifestyle modifications including exercise, meditation, psychotherapy and other complementary therapies should be considered.


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.
Slide Presentation


“Depression and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease”
By the Michael J. Fox Foundation, June 16, 2016
This 1-hour audio with slides is an interview of a person with Parkinson’s disease, a psychiatrist, and a neuropsychiatrist.  Panelists discuss the causes of depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms, and how to treat and manage this aspect of life with the disease.


"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.]


“Mood & Cognition: Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease & how it impacts relationships”
By Parkinson’s Canada, March 3, 2020
This 1-hour webinar will help you deal with relationship issues stemming from mood and cognitive changes that occur as a result of living with Parkinson’s disease.  The webinar also focuses on various communication strategies.
Webinar notes are available on the Stanford PD Community Blog.


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, March 30, 2020.

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