Anxiety is a very common non-motor feature of PD, and symptoms of PD can worsen in the presence of stress and anxiety. Unlike stress which is fueled by external sources (such as work, family tension, finances, etc.), anxiety is fueled by internal forces and can persist when all external causes of stress have been resolved. Anxiety in PD may need to be treated with medication in order for a person to regain his/her quality of life. But there are also a number of lifestyle modifications that may be very helpful. Check out more of this blog post, including a list of resources, from the American Parkinson Disease Association.
It is often difficult for a person with PD to separate out stress and anxiety – because they often manifest in indistinguishable ways. Both can cause excessive worry, poor sleep, and inattention, as well as physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, trouble breathing, sweating, and headaches.
Even if you can’t tell whether your symptoms are caused by stress or anxiety, lifestyle modifications like exercise, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mental health counseling (among others) may be very helpful in combating both.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing stress and/or anxiety. You also may find these resources from the APDA to be useful:
Stress, Anxiety & PD: Learn how stress and anxiety are related to Parkinson’s and discover a variety of things you can try that may help improve this symptom in this online article.
Anxiety & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: During our National Virtual Conference in February 2023, psychiatrist Siddhartha Nadkarni, MD, spoke about how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can play an impactful role in helping people living with PD manage and conquer their anxiety. Check out this 38-minute video of his talk, including a Q&A.