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Mental Health and its Role with Those That Have Young Onset Parkinson's Disease

05/03/2024 11:52 AM | Anonymous

In Addition to the Many Physical Challenges To Overcome, There Are Many Psychological Challenges Faced on a Daily Basis

Living with Young Onset Parkinson's (YOPD) throws a lot your way. You might be dealing with physical symptoms, changes in your daily routine, and maybe even concerns about the future.  It's completely normal to experience a range of emotions along the way – frustration, fear, even anger. 

Furthermore, mental health challenges are extremely common with YOPD. Studies show that anxiety and depression are much more likely to affect people with Parkinson's than the general population. Because of this, it’s especially important to stay in touch with your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Why are mental health challenges more common in PD folks? There are a couple of reasons. First, the changes Parkinson's brings can be stressful. As mentioned above, you might worry about work, relationships, or your ability to do the things you love. I find this is even more prevalent amongst many of those I interact with that have YOPD. Many of us hide our diagnosis for as long as we possibly can and suppress the anxiety and depression we come across. Second, the disease itself can cause changes in the brain that contribute to anxiety and depression. The neurotransmitters that are affected by PD also play a very important role in our mental health; thus emotional challenges are a common non-motor symptom of the diagnosis. The combination of these factors can make daily life especially challenging. 

So, what can you do?

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