Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complicated condition with symptoms that differ from one person to the next. There are many physical symptoms associated with PD, such as tremors, rigid muscles, and slow movements. While these symptoms are certainly challenging to senior homecare providers and family caregivers, the behavior changes that are sometimes part of PD are often even more challenging. One such symptom is Parkinson’s psychosis, which occurs in more than 50 percent of people with PD during the course of the disease.
What is Parkinson’s Psychosis?
Parkinson’s psychosis causes PD patients to hallucinate or to experience delusional thoughts. When a person hallucinates, they see, hear, or feel something that is not actually there. A hallucination occurs when a person is completely awake, so it is not a dream or a nightmare. Delusional thoughts are ideas that aren’t rational or informed by reality. For example, a person with PD might exhibit paranoid behavior in which they believe their homecare providers or family members are stealing from them or switching their medications.
For some people, the symptoms are minor and not bothersome. They may experience visual hallucinations that are fleeting, such as seeing something out of the corner of their eye that isn’t really there. For others, the behavior is more severe. Sometimes a person with Parkinson’s psychosis may be so convinced that what they are experiencing is real that they call police or other authorities for emergency assistance.
What Causes Parkinson’s Psychosis?
The cause of Parkinson’s psychosis is not entirely understood, but some of the possible causes are:
- Medication Side Effects: PD medications that are meant to raise dopamine levels can cause changes in behaviors and emotions. Dopamine levels are important since dopamine is needed to relay messages concerning movement to the brain.
- Natural Progression: Parkinson’s psychosis may just be a part of the disease and can develop regardless whether the patient is taking medication that affects dopamine levels.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Experts say there is no reliable way to determine who will develop Parkinson’s psychosis and who will not. It may be the result of several factors. Some of the risk factors are:
- How long the person has had PD.
- PD severity for that person.
- Dopamine therapy.
Is Help Available?
If your parent begins exhibiting signs of Parkinson’s psychosis, report them to the doctor. There are some treatments and medications available. If you are struggling to care for your parent with PD, hiring a senior homecare provider through an agency can help. A senior homecare provider can care for your parent while you work or spend time with family. They can assist with tasks like dressing, grooming, toileting, cooking, and light house cleaning. Most of all, they can be an additional support to you and your parent to give you peace of mind and ensure that your parent is safe and well cared for.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Puyallup WA, contact the caring staff at Hospitality Home Care today. Call us at (206) 966-6552.