The Influence of Parkinson’s Disease on Patients and their Caregivers

April 22, 2022

An estimated one million individuals in the U.S. suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD), falling just short of Alzheimer’s Disease as the most prevalent worldwide neurodegenerative disorder. PD is most often detected around the age of 60.

In PD, the gradual failure of nerve function in the brain decreases dopamine production, directly impairing motor skills. Shakiness, body stiffness and difficulty swallowing are just a few of Parkinson’s common symptoms.

It is discouraging to know that there is not yet an official cure for PD. However, there are many treatments available to help people manage the illness.

Most treatments focus on trying to compensate for decreased dopamine production by increasing the amount of dopamine circulating in the brain. This helps regulate dopamine levels and lessen symptoms.

In addition to pharmacotherapy, lifestyle adjustments, including exercise and dietary changes, may be helpful. Prairie View offers support groups that provide personal, firsthand support platforms for sharing emotions, coping strategies and treatment options to those diagnosed with PD. Other treatments may include relaxation therapies, such as art or music.

The mental implications of PD may feel more detrimental than the physical. While there are physical changes that take place, anxiety, depression, cognitive changes and even visual hallucinations may occur at various stages of PD. These can be attributed to a combination of the physical effects of the disease on the brain and the mental stress of the diagnosis itself. The Prairie View mental health crisis line (800-362-0180) offers 24-hour support for those experiencing any mental crisis.

Stress can also take a toll on the family, friends and caretakers of those with PD. Support groups and organizations designed specifically for those caring for a loved one with a long-term disease can help significantly. Prairie View is equipped to supply caregivers with counseling, consultation and training to best support themselves and those with a long-term illness.

Nonprofit organizations like Club Parkinson’s in Wichita, Kan., have made it their mission to bridge the gap between a PD diagnosis and finding a cure. Club Parkinson’s can be reached at (316) 252-1877 or by visiting their website,

If you know someone with Parkinson’s disease, act as a caregiver, or resonate to feelings of helplessness and uncertainty, consider reaching out to Prairie View today at (800) 992-6292 for more information on resources to help.