Clinical issues in the treatment of anxiety and depression in older adults with Parkinson’s disease
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A significant proportion of persons affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD) are over age 65 years. Mental health issues are often less a focus of treatment in this population than physical manifestations of the illness. Anxiety or depression alone, as well as comorbid depression and anxiety, are under recognized in patients with PD and are associated with deleterious effects on physical and interpersonal functioning, negatively impacting quality of life and well-being. We offer a brief overview of salient clinical points with respect to assessment and treatment approaches to enhance efficacy of the treatment of mental health symptoms in older adults with PD. Cognitive behavior therapy involves the patient learning to overcome behavioral avoidance associated with anxiety and challenge unhelpful negative cognitions. It is suggested that cognitive behavior therapy is an effective approach to treatment of anxiety and depression in PD and should be offered as a treatment to patients.
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