Mental disturbances associated with Parkinson’s

Understanding Parkinson’s disease

There are certain mental problems which have been associated with Parkinson’s disease as symptoms of the disease. These include hallucinations, paranoia and delusions, some of which are thought to be brought on by the side effects of medication while some may be complications of the disease itself.

Hallucinations, paranoia and delusion are all perception disturbances; the most common form of hallucination is the patient’s ability to see things which others don’t. Delusions are personal beliefs that go against fact or reason and are false beliefs.

Paranoia usually brings feelings of being followed or beliefs that you are going to be harmed in some unforeseen way. The good news is that these disturbances of the mind can be controlled in almost all patients suffering from them as part of Parkinson’s disease.

How these disturbances are treated

A through background check into the patients history will be taken in order to rule out any other conditions which could cause hallucinations, delusions or paranoia. Things your doctor will look for are imbalances in the chemicals in blood that help to control the levels of water in the body and transmitting nerve impulses. Other infections such as those of the kidney and liver or lung failure can also cause mental disturbances.

The side effects of some of the medications used in the treatment of the disease can also cause mental disturbances, with some medications being more likely to cause problems than others. In patients who are affected in this way by their medication then their doctor will probably recommend switching to a different form of medication.

Patients who are affected but who cannot easily accept changes to their medication without it causing problems with their motor skills symptoms might be better treated with anti-psychotic medications. Older neuroleptics such as Melleril and Haldol have been known to worsen motor skill symptoms and other alternatives can now be used such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Clozaril.

These are all known to control hallucinations effectively whithout worsening the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The downside is that there will be a 2% chance that there will be a drop in the white blood cell count and frequent blood testing will be required.

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