Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders and is classified as a movement disorder with the presence of the motor symptoms bradykinesia, tremor and rigidity. The literature on the management of PD motor symptoms focuses extensively on the medical treatment and outlines the vast advancements that drug therapy has seen over the past 40 years. There are beneficial outcomes of medicinal therapy on the treatment of motor symptoms; however, extensive research also finds there is a wearing off effect as well as potential for motor and nonmotor side effects. As the pharmacological research continues their search for the ideal medical treatment model, awareness of the psychosocial symptoms and the potential burden on caregivers has also achieved much attention in the last few decades. The increasing interest in the psychosocial characteristics of the disease appears to stem from the evolving scientific knowledge of the disease and its lack of a cure. Compounding the sequelae of PD, nonmotor challenges are sometimes unrelated to the common progression of PD and dopamine deficiency. Clinical diagnosis of PD is often confounded by the psychosocial realm of the patients daily functioning and the impact it has on the care and treatment of patients. This paper summarizes the literature of PD from a psychosocial perspective. The first chapter reviews the intrinsic psychosocial symptoms of PD and how they may or may not be influenced by dopamine neurotransmitters. The second chapter examines the side effects of three commonly prescribed medications used to treat PD. The last chapter focuses on implications the disease has on the caregiver’s own personal well-being.
Introduction: Parkinson’s Disease Overview and Literature Search Criteria
PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and is estimated to impact 1% of the total population over the age of 60 (Alves, Forsaa, Pedersen, Dreetz, Gjerstad, & Larsen, 2008; de Lau & Breteler, 2006). Some studies have found little to no significant relationship between sex and PD diagnosis (de Lau et al., 2006), whereas others have suggested that men are about 1.5 times more likely than women to develop the disease (Lees, Hardy & Revesz, 2009). The medicinal treatment of levodopa and a peripheral dopa decarboxylase inhibitor are the most common and effective treatment options in improving quality of life and functional abilities in PD patients (Lees et al., 2009). A recent systematic review found that those patients: with more advanced stages of the disease, who also had high levels of disability, and who were diagnosed with depressive symptoms, were more likely to report poorer quality of life scores (Soh, Morris & McGinley, 2011) which demonstrates the importance of the treatment of motor and non-motor symptoms in PD.
The etiology of the disease remains inconclusive however older age has been found as a potential risk factor (de Lau et al., 2006; Lees...