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Can Parkinson’s Change Your Personality

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Why Parkinsonian Symptoms Can Worsen During The Day

Emma-Marie Smith

Parkinsonian symptoms can get worse at certain times, and many people have good days and bad days with Parkinson’s disease. While symptoms can fluctuate naturally, patients can also experience periods where their medication doesn’t work as effectively as usual, typically when they’ve been taking it for a long time. Some people with Parkinson’s disease find that their symptoms are worse due to the decreased effects of levodopa medication that occur over time. Lets look at why this happens and explore ways to treat daytime Parkinsonian symptoms.

What Are The Primary Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

There are four primary motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability . Observing two or more of these symptoms is the main way that physicians diagnose Parkinsons.

It is important to know that not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease to be considered. In fact, younger people may only notice one or two of these motor symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Not everyone with Parkinsons disease has a tremor, nor is a tremor proof of Parkinsons. If you suspect Parkinsons, see a neurologist or movement disorders specialist.


Read more about Parkinsons tremors



mask-like expression of the face

Postural Instability

Walking or Gait Difficulties

episodes of freezing


Vocal Symptoms

One Of The Most Difficult Neurological Disorder Symptoms Of Parkinsons

Why might this be important to families challenged by PD? Because the biggest source of conflict in families occurs when loved ones fail to recognize that a person with brain changes is not the same person who existed at an earlier time in life. Human beings greatly value continuity in personality but by expecting the person to be the same as they once were, loved ones are unfair to the person with brain insult. This person could no more return to an earlier personality state than he or she can will away tremors or rigidity. Energy expended in any way other than coming to terms with this new person is fruitless. There is actually some fascinating research in this area and it is likely to be a topic for a great deal more discussion in future blogs.

Because of the greater likelihood for executive dysfunction and dementia, personality change is easier to see among individuals with more advanced PD. Motivation is frequently affected, resulting in apathy that diminishes how actively an individual interacts with other people and with the world . Thinking or cognition changes can cause the person to process information more slowly and with less focus and concentration . A previously methodical, consistent individual often becomes increasingly chaotic in their response to their environment . One easily becomes less interested and hopeful about the future .

Part I Personality Questionnaires

The Parkinson’s disease patients scored lower than controls on the TCI novelty-seeking scale . The patient group scored higher than controls on the TCI harm avoidance scale and on the KSP muscular-tension scale . The other differences between patients and controls did not reach statistical significance after correction for multiple comparisons . The TCI harm-avoidance scale correlated positively with the KSP muscular-tension scale both in the Parkinson’s disease group and in the control group . The motor UPDRS score did not significantly correlate with any of the personality scales .

Mean scores of 61 unmedicated Parkinson’s disease patients and 45 healthy controls on the TCI and theKSP

Managing Compulsive And Impulsive Behaviour

Parkinsons disease symptoms: The sign in your handwriting ...

Because of the sensitive or private nature of some behaviour it is not easy for family or friends to discuss this with the individual. The person may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing the problem so they may need reassurance that their behaviour does not reflect badly on them and that they can talk in confidence with a healthcare professional. 

The person may be unaware of their personality changes so it is very important that family and friends who observe unusual behavioural traits discuss this as soon as possible with their doctor or an appropriate healthcare professional. Although it can be difficult to tackle such sensitive issues, prompt action can usually find effective treatment. 

A trial and error approach may be needed as the higher doses of Parkinsons medication required to control motor symptoms may be the cause of the compulsive behaviour. But reducing medication can mean motor symptoms are less well controlled.

Treatment may involve reducing the daily dose of Parkinsons medication, or withdrawing dopamine agonists in favour of levodopa or another type of medication. Any changes should be made gradually to minimise the risk of side effects or withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety or depression. Continuous dopaminergic stimulation , using levodopa/carbidopa or apomorphine for example, has been found to be effective for a number of people.

What Can I Do

Talking to your doctor about emotional issues as well as physical ones will give them a better overview of how things are going. They may be able to prescribe you medications that will help with anxiety and depression, and they may also refer you for counselling or therapy if you feel it would be helpful to talk. You might also find it helpful to think about some techniques proven to help with managing anxiety and depression, such as , CBT or gentle exercise.

Signs Of Parkinsons Disease

In 1817, Dr. James Parkinson published An Essay on the Shaking Palsy describing non-motor, as well as, motor symptoms of the illness that bears his . Parkinsons is not just a movement disorder, explained Dr. Shprecher. Constipation, impaired sense of smell, and dream enactment can occur years before motor symptoms of Parkinsons. The latter, caused by a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder, is a very strong risk factor for both Parkinsons and dementia . This has prompted us to join a of centers studying REM sleep behavior disorder.

Anxiety And Parkinsons Disease

Anxiety is another common mood disorder of PD and is characterized by excessive nervousness or worry over several months. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder may experience symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness, feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless or unsatisfying sleep1,3

Anxiety is not linked with disease of PD. It may develop before or after a PD diagnosis. It is often experienced along with depression in people with PD, as the disease process of PD changes the chemistry of the brain. Treatment for anxiety may include anti-anxiety medications, psychological counseling, exercise, relaxation techniques, and/or meditation.1

Guide To Seeking Prompt Assistance

Now that you have learned about personality changes when you observe people around you undergo a rapid alteration in their behavior, it is advisable to learn more about the change. Professionals in that field are available to assist with this. Contact the number to assist with around-the-clock information on dealing with behavioral changes from experts. It is courtesy of Foundations Recovery Network on personality changes.

How Are These Mental Health Problems Treated

Your doctor will first want to check if your hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia are caused by other medical conditions. They’ll check for imbalances in chemicals in your that help send nerve signals.

They may also check to see how well your , , or are working, as well as test for certain infections. All of these issues could cause mental health problems.

Other medications that you may be using, including over-the-counter drugs, could also play a role in your mental health. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including herbs and .

Often the used to treat Parkinson’s disease can cause mental health problems. Your doctor may suggest you switch to a different drug or change your dose. If changing your Parkinson’s medication causes your Parkinson’s symptoms to get worse, your doctor may recommend you stick with it but take antipsychotic drugs at the same time.

There’s a chance that an antipsychotic medicine you take is making your Parkinson’s worse. If that happens, you have alternatives. The medication pimavanserin was approved by the FDA to specifically treat that goes along with Parkinson’s disease. Other drugs, such as , , and can control hallucinations at low doses without making your Parkinson’s symptoms worse.

If you feel depressed or notice any mental health problems, talk to your doctor right away. There’s likely a remedy that will make you feel better.

Does Dbs Cause Changes In Personality

Report from International Neuroethics Society annual meeting

Since 2002, deep brain stimulation , the surgical implantation of a pacemaker-like device that sends electrical impulses to targeted parts of the brain, has been used as a treatment for motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease . But are patients trading part of their sense of self in exchange for improved mobility?

In the last decade, a growing number of published articles have raised the concern of personality changes in PD patients as a result of DBS, and tried to discern if the concern is real or overblown. At Thursdays International Neuroethics Society meeting discussion DBS: Continuity of Self, panelists aimed to add clarity to the debate. Speculation shouldnt be divorced from clinical reality, said panel moderator and ethicist Hannah Maslen, who introduced the session.

The speakers, philosopher and neuroethicist Frederic Gilbert, neuropsychologist Cynthia Kubu, behavioral neurologist Winston Chiong, and ethics researcher Jonathan Pugh, offered a range of perspectives. They largely focused on the state of the evidence and why its so difficult to assess personality changes in patients.

But what does the existing primary research say?

One patient who met this criterion told them, really takes over. I couldnt work, which was a big part of my identity. If I didnt have the device Id probably be dead right now, and later states I think that does change you as a person.

Where To Find Support

Find cancer support groups in your area with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Yes to Life has information about psychological support for cancer and a list of counsellors by area.

The Haven offers counselling to partners, family members and close friends of those with breast cancer. Always check a counsellor who is registered with a professional organisation like .


Correlational And Regression Analyses

Parkinsons disease symptoms: Noticing a change in your ...

Individual researcher rated apathy scores were analysed with the primary demographic, clinical, cognitive, mood, and personality measures in the Parkinson group using correlation statistics. Because of the number of pairwise comparisons, a conservative criterion was used for significance . Increasing apathy was associated with overall cognitive impairment as measured by the CAMCOG , and specifically with the subscales for language and memory . An association was found between the degree of apathy and measures of executive function including letter fluency , Stroop reading and interference , WCST categories and perseverative errors . A separate analysis of the associations with depression scores showed no significant relations for any of the above measures.

A series of exploratory regression analyses revealed that none of the clinical or demographic variablesalone or in combination predicted researcher rated apathy . Of the cognitive measures, the best set of predictors was the interference trial of the Stroop test and the COWAT verbal fluency .

Dealing With Personality Changes

  • Participant
  • Hello everyone. My husband is 64 and was diagnosed two years ago with Parkinsons, although in retrospect we now realize that he has had symptoms for probably a decade or more.
  • My question is more regarding non-motor changes. I have noticed especially in the last few months that sometimes he misinterprets the way I speak to him or my actions. For example, his voice is very weak and hard to understand. A few days ago I leaned in closer and said excuse me? And he said that I didnt have to get aggressive with him. I am finding a lot lately that he misinterprets my words and actions. I feel like I am afraid to say anything and Im walking on eggshells.

    Does anyone deal with personality changes or perhaps misplaced anger towards the spouse? I am finding it a bit hard to deal with although I realize that I must be the one to change my perceptions. Any help or advice would be welcome and appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by
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Pessimism And Anxiety Linked To Parkinson’s

Researchers See Connection Between Personality Traits and Development of Parkinson’s Disease

Charlene Laino

April 13, 2005 — Do you always look on the dark side of life? Or fret about things no one else even thinks about? If so, here’s something new to worry about: Pessimistic and anxious personalities are associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease years down the road, researchers say.

“This is the first study to show that people with high levels of an anxious or pessimistic personality are at higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease up to several decades later,” says James Bower, MD, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a researcher on the study.

The researchers followed nearly 5,000 men and women who took a standardized personality test between 1962 and 1965; 128 of them developed Parkinson’s disease over the next 35 to 40 years.

People who scored highest on anxiety scores were 60% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those scoring lower, Bower says. And those who scored in the top 25% on the pessimism scale were 50% more likely to develop the progressive neurological disease, he tells WebMD.

The people who developed Parkinson’s disease had anxieties that go beyond common worries about what’s for dinner or job stress, Bower says. “These are the chronic worriers — the people who worry about things that most people never seem to worry about.”

How Family And Friends Can Help

Family and friends may often notice unusual behaviour that the individual is unaware of or tries to keep secret, unaware in many cases of the impact such behaviour can have on those around them. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • repetitive behaviour, constantly organising objects or collecting items
  • putting on weight, eating large quantities of food in private or constant snacking
  • shopping much more than usual and spending more on shopping
  • being protective about finances
  • spending much more time on the Internet, including late at night
  • taking more Parkinsons medication than they should.

Family and friends can also help by controlling the opportunities for compulsive behaviour, perhaps by creating opportunities for other activities to divert attention, by blocking Internet gambling sites or by taking away credit and bank cards so cash flow is restricted.

Because compulsive behaviours often cause problems in family life and social adjustment, family therapy may be advised.

Chemo Brain And Personality Changes


We hear so often from our community about their struggles with chemo brain. The feeling of mental fog, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and other cognitive issues can really impact someones life, and are a common personality change after chemo. However, another phenomenon we sometimes hear about is chemo rage.

Lyme Disease Personality Changes

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease, which is transmitted to people from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, may include physical signs, such as a rash, and psychological signs, including mood swings.

In a 2012 study, nearly a quarter of people in the early stages of Lyme disease reported feeling irritable. Roughly 10 percent of the people said they felt anxious.

Get a better understanding of the symptoms of Lyme disease.

The Parkinsonian Personality: More Than Just A Trait


Since 1913 patients with Parkinson’s disease have been described as particularly industrious, devoted to hard work, inflexible, punctual, cautious, and moralist . These psychological characteristics have been so constantly reported that the concept of Parkinsonian personality emerged. In this regards, in the last few years PD patients have been evaluated according to several models of personality assessment , with the Big Five Model and the Cloninger’s Psychobiological Model as the most used. Studies following the BFM reported that PD patients presented high levels of Neuroticism and low levels of both Openness and Extraversion , while studies using the CPM described the temperament of PD patients as characterized by low Novelty Seeking and high Harm Avoidance . As a matter of fact, the high HA could be responsible for the Parkinsonians’ tendency to be cautious, fearful, pessimistic and shy, while the low levels of NS could account for the tendency to be unsocial, frugal and orderly. Under different points of view, the Parkinsonian personality, as it has been consistently reported in literature , shares several clinical features with the obsessive compulsive personality disorder as classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders .

On the contrary, nowadays there is a limited amount of studies using the DSM criteria.

What Is Parkinsons Disease

is a neurological illness caused by degeneration or breaking down of cells in the nervous system, explained Dr. Shprecher. The nature of Parkinsons Disease is progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time. To comprehend the natural progression of the disease, we should understand its five stages, as explained by the Parkinsons Foundation.

Stage One

Individuals experience mild symptoms that generally do not interfere with daily activities. Tremor and other movement symptoms occur on one side of the body only. They may also experience changes in posture, walking and facial expressions.

Stage Two

Symptoms worsen, including tremor, rigidity and other movement symptoms on both sides of the body. The person is still able to live alone, but daily tasks are more difficult and lengthier.

Stage Three

This is considered mid-stage. Individuals experience loss of balance and slowness of movements. While still fully independent, these symptoms significantly impair activities such as dressing and eating. Falls are also more common by stage three.

Stage Four

Symptoms are severe and limiting. Individuals may stand without help, but movement likely requires a walker. People in stage four require help with daily activities and are unable to live alone.

Stage Five

The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease


Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.

Dementia With Lewy Bodies

After Alzheimer’s, this is the next most common type of dementia. Clumps of unusual proteins, called Lewy bodies, form in the areas of your brain that control memory, movement, and thinking. So it affects you both mentally and physically. People who have it tend to become more passive, showing little emotion and losing interest in hobbies and other activities.

Management Of Personality Changes

The best approach is to combine drug therapy with different psychotherapy strategies specifically suited to specific patients.

A stroke can be treated at the earliest stages with prompt and effective treatment, restoring normal behavior and function, and personality changes. However, this may not be the situation in some other instances. Also, drug therapy and counselling may be necessary. When disease progression cannot be remedied with medication, symptomatic treatment is carried out to manage the situation. The elderly may also experience behavioral modifications such as age-induced loss of memory and irritability. A holistic approach is also necessary to yield the best result in personality changes.

When Does Your Personality Changes Become A Big Problem

 Your personality changes can occur when you have a dramatic change in your life appearance, actions, or emotions. Personality changes seem to be normal in some stages of your life. Because of surrounding factors, your mood changes that lead to your personality changes as well.

However, if your personality changes are uncontrollable, detrimental, and uncomfortable, these can be a big problem. Once experiencing these changes, they signal a deeper problem in your body. You need to see your doctor soon to check.

If your personality changes are uncontrollable, detrimental, these are a big problem

Tips For Dealing With Morning Akinesia

Depending on the severity of your Parkinsonian symptoms, morning akinesia can make it difficult to dress, bathe, use the toilet and prepare breakfast for yourself. Here are some tips to help you deal with morning akinesia and the worsening of PD symptoms:

Most patients who experience morning akinesia are in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, meaning their Parkinson’s symptoms are more pronounced. At this point, your doctor may suggest a different combination of medicines or see if you are eligible for surgery. If you know your Parkinsonian symptoms are worse in the morning, it’s important to seek the help you need to take care of yourself and stay safe.

article references

APA ReferenceSmith, E. . Why Parkinsonian Symptoms Can Worsen During the Day, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, August 11 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parkinsons-disease/symptoms/why-parkinsonian-symptoms-can-worsen-during-the-day

Personality Changes With Age

Your personality can continue to develop throughout your lifetime.

A 2011 study suggests that the Big Five personality traits conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and introversion/extroversion remain stable once people reach adulthood.

In a 2016 study, researchers compared the results of personality tests taken by adolescents in 1950 with those taken by the same people at age 77. The test results suggested that personality may gradually change during someones life and be very different by the time theyre older.

This study did have some methodology limitations, and more work is needed in this area.

Compulsive And Impulsive Behaviour And Parkinson’s

Impulsive and compulsive behaviour is related to dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical messenger in the brain that is primarily affected in Parkinsons. As well as helping to control movement, balance and walking, dopamine also plays a big role in the part of the brain that controls reward and motivation. This is important, as people affected by impulsive and compulsive behaviour are driven or motivated to do something that gives them an instant reward. Some research suggests it is the anticipation of reward that is the driving factor, rather than the reward itself. For example the act of gambling and a potential win is more exciting than the win itself, which is why the behaviour is repeated.

Certain medications are thought to be linked to compulsive and impulsive behaviour, in particular dopamine agonists and, in some cases, levodopa. It is estimated that 17% of people taking dopamine agonists experience some degree of compulsive or impulsive behaviour whilst approximately 7% of people taking levodopa and other types of medication are affected1. The mechanism between medication and changes in behaviour is not yet clear and is likely to vary as individuals each respond differently to a particular medication. However, stimulation of D3 receptor sites, as witnessed in other psychiatric disorders, might be one explanation as its involvement in mediating the incentive motivational effects of other drugs is recognised.



Memory Or Thinking Problems

Having issues with thinking and processing things could mean your disease is progressing. Parkinsons is more than a movement disorder. The disease has a cognitive part as well, which means it can cause changes in the way your brain works.

During the final stage of the disease, some people may develop dementia or have hallucinations. However, hallucinations can also be a side effect of certain medications.

If you or your loved ones notice that youre getting unusually forgetful or easily confused, it might be a sign of advanced-stage Parkinsons.

Brain Tumor Personality Changes

Parkinsons disease: Change in your bowel habits can ...

A brain tumor in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, or parts of the cerebrum can cause personality changes.

For example, someone who was easy to get along with could become irritable. An active person could become more passive.

Mood swings, such as quickly becoming angry after feeling happy, may also occur.

Find out more about brain tumors and their symptoms.


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