Postgrad Med J 77:89-93 doi:10.1136/pmj.77.904.89
  • Review

Parkinson's disease and anxiety

  1. K Walsh,
  2. G Bennett
  1. Department of Healthcare of the Elderly, St Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK
  1. Dr Kieran Walsh, Colchester General Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 5JL, UK
  • Received 8 May 2000
  • Accepted 15 August 2000


There has been a recent surge of interest in the subject of anxiety in patients with Parkinson's disease. Up to 40% of patients with Parkinson's disease experience clinically significant anxiety. This anxiety may be a psychological reaction to the stress of the illness or may be related to the neurochemical changes of the disease itself. Antiparkinsonian drugs may have a role in the pathogenesis of the anxiety. The anxiety disorders in Parkinson's disease patients appear to be clustered in the panic disorder, phobic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder areas. The degree of comorbidity between anxiety and depression in patients with Parkinson's disease is in excess of that found in patients without the disease and anxiety in combination with depression may represent a specific depressive subtype in Parkinson's disease. As yet, there is no trial evidence as to the treatment of anxiety in patients with Parkinson's disease.


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