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What are the Mental and Physical Effects of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease  is a disease that affects the way the bodies substantia nigra, also known as the dopamine in the brain and nerves, communicates with the brain and nervous system. When the chemical messenger is not doing its job properly, an individual starts to feel the impacts of Parkinson’s on their body and their psyche. When an individual has Parkinson’s, he or she will experience various side effects and symptoms from the disease that will impact their quality of life and their every day routines.


How Does Parkinson’s Affect the Body?

Parkinson’s Disease has a big physical impact on the body, as most of the side effects and symptoms are physical. Physical impacts on the body includes:

  • Slowing of the body
  • A tremor that is often apparent when the body is at rest
  • Stiffness of a limb or the body as a whole
  • Moving at a much slower
  • Trouble walking or mobility
  • Difficulty keeping one’s balance
  • Loss of coordination & balance problems
  • Loss of ability to express emotions through facial expressions
  • Difficulty controlling movement throughout the body
  • Sudden drops in blood pressure

These physical side effects of this disease can heavily impact an individual’s quality of life, as well as their ability to live the same type of life that they did before their diagnosis. Technically speaking, Parkinson’s will have a huge impact on an individual’s physical well-being, as most of the symptoms and side effects directly impact their way of life. Parkinson’s can also worsen over time for some individuals, causing their physical wellness to suffer greatly. Parkinson’s can cause individuals to lose their ability to walk, sit or stand as they used to. This will impact their overall bone and muscle mass, giving their body a greater chance of deterioration over time.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect the Mind?

As aforementioned, Parkinson’s can heavily impact the physical well-being of an individual that is experiencing serious complications and symptoms of the disease. However, just as an individual starts to feel the physical impacts on their body, their mental state and well-being may start to feel compromised as well. If an individual that has been faithfully running 5 miles a day starts to lose balance due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease, he or she will likely start to feel depressed, anxious and sad over their inability to carry out their daily tasks.

As a seniors’ Parkinson’s Disease starts to worsen over time, family members may start to see a shift in their overall mood and mental state. Not only can Parkinson’s literally take an individual’s ability to think clearly, but he or she may start to feel things that they had never felt before such as depression or anxiety. This can be one of many mental complications from this debilitation disease. Parkinson’s can cause an individual to feel unmotivated to carry out everyday tasks or to put effort into improving their quality of life, as they may feel their life is declining anyways.  It is important to recognize the signs of depression and mental health issues in seniors and know when it is time to step in and help them. Mental and emotional issues may start to heavily impact people with Parkinson’s, as it may take away their drive and willingness to work towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.

What are the Warning Signs?

There are several warning signs that an individual with Parkinson’s and depression can display. However, it is important to remember that each individual will handle his or her emotions respectively and may display different warning signs. Some things to look out for are:

  • Lack of motivation to carry out daily tasks such as cleaning the house, preparing meals, etc.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies that once were a priority.
  • Loss of interest in socialization.
  • Lack of motivation to leave the house or get out of bed.
  • Loss of interest in taking his or her medication or attending routine doctors’ appointments.

If you or your loved one is experiencing depression, anxiety or mood changes due to their Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis, it is important to seek out resources to improve their overall wellbeing. It is imperative to seek out treatment through medical professionals, support groups from the community or support through family and friends. An in-home caregiver can also help the individual affected with his or her daily tasks such as light housekeeping, medication reminders, meal preparation or simple companionship. A caregiver can be the support system that a Parkinson’s patient needs in order to continue with heir prescribed medical plan and avoid regression. With the proper medication, support and professional supervision, an individual with Parkinson’s can improve his or her mental state and live a happy, healthy and prosperous life.


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