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APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Apathy in PD

Relevant Online Information


Published by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA), February 2018
Apathy is a symptom of Parkinson’s.  The word comes from the Greek meaning ‘without passion.’  Someone with apathy shows a lack of interest, emotion and purpose.  Care givers and family members may feel the person is lazy or difficult.  This webpage discusses the reality of living with Parkinson’s and apathy.  It provides three rating scales to help diagnose apathy in Parkinson’s, medication and counseling options to treat apathy, education and lifestyle changes to relieve apathy symptoms.


Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation
This 1-page resource distinguishes between depression and apathy.  It includes therapies and tips for living with apathy.


“Apathy: How to Combat,” by Dr. Maria De Leon
Published by defeatparkinsons.com, January 30, 2017
This blog post distinguishes between apathy and indifference.  Both require evaluation by your physician, neurologist, or MD.  Dr. De Leon includes a how those evaluations should be thoroughly done, and includes treatment options for both.


“Ask the MD: Apathy and Parkinson’s Disease”
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, January 12, 2016
This post in the Foxfeed Blog explains apathy is a non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms, potential consequences, diagnosis, behavioral adjustments to help live with apathy and medication options.


“Apathy and Parkinson’s Disease,” by Heather Simpson
Published by the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration College of Medicine, Parkinson Treatment Tips, November 26, 2013
This 1-page article provides specific tips to increase participation in needed and desired activities in spite of the symptoms of apathy.


“Apathy and Parkinson’s Disease, Does it Really Matter?" by Soania Mathur, MD
Published by verywell.com, July 14, 2016 
This 1-page article emphasizes Parkinson’s disease is no longer just a movement disorder, but symptoms, like apathy, require active management.  It recommends medication treatments and specific lifestyle changes to better cope.



Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

"Apathy or Depression: Which One Is It?"
By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), June 14, 2016
This 68-minute audio lecture with coordinated slide presentation features Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., speaking on the differences and overlapping aspects of apathy and depression; the difficulty in diagnosing for people with Parkinson’s disease and treatments for both.


“Apathy and Parkinson’s”
By Parkinson’s Disease Care New York, July 25, 2018
This 30-minute episode 4, season 2 of Parkinson’s TV is an interview of two professionals, a woman with PD and her spouse.  The conversation distinguishes apathy from depression as both are symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  The focus is on how apathy affects both the person with PD and those who care for them and what can be done to overcome apathy and relieve caregiver burden.  Five minutes are spent interviewing a neurologist in Spain for an international perspective of PD.


"Feeling Depressed or Anxious? It May Just be the Parkinson’s,” by Jeff Shaw, PsyD
By the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation & Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon, Lunchtime Laboratory series, July 8, 2014
In this 50-minute audio lecture with slides, Dr. Shaw distinguishes between anxiety, apathy, and depression, and acknowledging medications are useful, before focusing 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.]



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

This list compiled by Robin Riddle for Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach Program, 2012. Last updated by Denise Dagan, April 2018.

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