You may be aware of the physical symptoms related to Parkinson's disease, like resting tremors, slow movement, rigid muscles, and loss of balance. But did you know that around half of people living with Parkinson's may also experience hallucinations and/or delusions over the course of their disease?
Patty and her husband, Bruce, speak with his neurologist, Dr Friedman, about the Parkinson's disease–related hallucinations and delusions he is experiencing.
of people living with Parkinson's may experience hallucinations or delusions during the course of their disease.
Your healthcare provider may refer to these Parkinson's-related hallucinations and delusions as Parkinson's disease psychosis (PDP).
Parkinson's disease is a central nervous system disorder. The signs and symptoms of it can vary from person to person, but generally fall into two types: motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms.
Hallucinations and delusions are non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
The exact cause of Parkinson's hallucinations and delusions is unknown. In general, hallucinations and delusions are thought to be a part of the natural progression of Parkinson's and/or a side effect of some dopamine therapies.
There’s no way to accurately predict which patients will develop Parkinson’s hallucinations or delusions.
Parkinson's hallucinations and delusions may take many forms, such as experiencing things that others don't or believing things that aren't based in reality.
Seeing, hearing, or experiencing things that others don't
Believing things that are not true
Early signs of hallucinations and delusions related to Parkinson’s should not be ignored. They can worsen over time, and it gets harder for the people who experience them to identify whether or not what they are experiencing is real.
Seeing, hearing, or experiencing things that others don't
Yvette speaks with her neurologist, Dr Friedman, and head nurse from her assisted living facility about her experiences with Parkinson's-related hallucinations.
Believing things that aren’t true
Patty and her husband, Bruce, talk with his neurologist, Dr Friedman, about recognizing symptoms of delusions.
If you are not familiar with Parkinson’s disease hallucinations and delusions, you are not alone. While the exact cause is not fully understood, there can be various causes of these symptoms.
Talk to your Parkinson’s specialist about symptoms you are experiencing. He or she can help you better understand your risk factors and possible treatment options.
Hallucinations and delusions can be stressful for both the person experiencing them as well as their caregiver. These symptoms may also increase the need for additional assistance and support.
Hallucinations and delusions can worsen over time, and it gets harder for the people who experience them to know whether or not what they are experiencing is real.
Even though most people know Parkinson’s disease as a movement disorder, non-motor symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, can be more troublesome than motor symptoms, in terms of quality of life.
Being a caregiver of someone with Parkinson’s disease, including someone experiencing hallucinations and delusions, can be stressful. You may be going through your own health-related issues. The emotional challenges and demands of caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease can feel like a burden.
Drew, a caregiver to his wife, Nora, learned about hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s for the first time when Nora saw people in their home who weren’t really there.
I don’t want people to jump to conclusions that I’m losing my mind.
– Yvette, a person living with Parkinson’s disease–related hallucinations and delusions
Whether you're a caregiver or a person living with Parkinson's, getting help starts with having a conversation about hallucinations and delusions related to Parkinson's. Although it can be difficult, talking to a Parkinson’s specialist—and each other—about what you're experiencing is an important first step.
Enroll below for e-mails that will help you learn more and stay current on information about hallucinations and delusions related to Parkinson's.
The Parkinson's Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson's disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. We build on the energy, experience, and passion of our global Parkinson's community.
PHONE 1-(800) 473-4636
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is the largest grassroots network dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease (PD) and works tirelessly to assist those with PD live life to the fullest in the face of this chronic, neurological disorder. APDA provides support nationally through its network of Chapters and Information & Referral (I&R) Centers, as well as a national Research Program and Centers for Advanced Research.
HELPLINE 1-(800) 223-2732
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with the disease today through an aggressively funded research agenda.
PHONE 1-(800) 708-7644
The Davis Phinney Foundation supports programs and research that deliver inspiration, information, and tools that enable people living with Parkinson's to take more control in managing their disease.
HELPLINE 1-(866) 358-0285
Your experiences may be a symptom of your Parkinson's. A Parkinson's specialist is the best person to help you find answers, but you need to start the conversation!
If you or the person you care for is living with hallucinations or delusions related to Parkinson's disease, you're not alone. Start by taking to your healthcare provider. This customizable checklist can help.
Build a customized checklist by answering a few questions that you can print out and bring to your healthcare provider on your next office visit. (Please know we don't save your information.)