Imagine your loved one with Parkinson’s disease suddenly seeing mice or black cats in their home, when there are none. Or what if they were convinced that someone was stealing their life savings from their home computer, but there’s no evidence of that?
These are just a few examples of what may be happening to more than half of the one million Americans with Parkinson’s disease over the course of their illness. Called Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PD psychosis), it is characterized by hallucinations, often visual, and delusions, which are false beliefs. The delusions often involve suspicions of spousal infidelity, even in couples married for decades, or other paranoid themes. Often, patients experiencing hallucinations and delusions cannot be convinced that what they are seeing and believing is not real, which contributes to the burden of Parkinson’s disease for both patients and their caregivers.
One woman with PD psychosis – 91-year old Ruth Ketcham – started seeing people on her roof and called the police. She claimed rats were running around her home. Her 54-year old daughter, Jody Wade, who is her caregiver, found it both frustrating and stressful to care for her mom. Ruth had trouble sleeping, worried excessively about the safety of her grandchildren in her home (even when they weren’t there) and needed round-the-clock care. But fortunately Jody’s mom participated in a clinical trial for the first investigational drug to specifically treat hallucinations and delusions associated with PD psychosis. Now FDA approved, Ruth’s family reports that the new medication has helped reduce her hallucinations and allows her to recognize that when she has a rare vision, what she is seeing is not real.
Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Daniel Kremens, Associate Professor of Neurology and Co-Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Division at Thomas Jefferson University along with Jody Wade. Jody’s mother, Ruth, is the 91-year old above who has struggled with PD as they discuss:
*Signs and symptoms
*Resources for family members
Click here for the complete interview
Interview is courtesy of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals
Categories: Health & Fitness