Apathy, a lack of feeling, enthusiasm, or concern, can affect as many as 40% of people with Parkinson’s Disease. And, according to Shake it Up Australia Foundation (https://shakeitup.org.au/apathy-and-parkinsons-disease/), apathy can have a detrimental effect on a person’s treatment outcomes, progress and mental health.
While more prevalent in older people and those with severe symptoms, apathy can occur in anyone living with Parkinson’s disease at any time.
Friends and family may be the first to notice if someone with PD is feeling apathetic. Common signs to look for include a lack of interest or concern about life, people and the world, as well as a loss of ‘get up and go.’ Activities a person once enjoyed may now seem too difficult.
If your loved one is showing signs of apathy, visit your doctor. Apathy can be confused with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, and a correct diagnosis is important in obtaining optimal treatment.
The good news is that there are many strategies to help people with PD who are experiencing apathy. Your doctor can help create a dedicated treatment program incorporating healthy lifestyle changes such as sleep, diet and exercise. Cognitive exercises and social activities can also help reduce feelings of apathy. Establishing a routine, and setting clear goals, can help people suffering from apathy stay on track and motivated.
While there is limited evidence supporting medications to treat apathy in people with PD, research in this area is ongoing. Certain medications can help people on an individual level. If you’re concerned that a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease may be experiencing apathy, visit your doctor.
The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and is not treatment advice. Recommendations regarding therapy can only be made on a case by case basis, discussed between a patient and their treating doctor(s).
The information in this article was current at May 2019.