Beverly Durham, 65, was literally paralyzed by fear when she suddenly believed that something bad would happen to her if she stepped into the shower. Her concern grew so strong that she refused to bathe herself until her husband, Buddy, built her a new bathroom in a different part of the house. She also couldn’t explain how she knew that Buddy was “out to get her,” or why no one else could see the “red devils” dancing near her fireplace.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011, Beverly was experiencing symptoms that often catch people by surprise – hallucinations and delusions. What Beverly saw and believed felt very real to her, despite reassurances from Buddy, her family, and friends that her beliefs were not true. During a visit to her movement disorder specialist, Beverly confessed about her overwhelming fears and suspicions about Buddy, which led to a brief hospital stay and a new treatment that helped Beverly to experience far fewer instances of hallucinations and delusions. Today, she and Buddy are enjoying their retirement, often treasure hunting together at local estate sales.
Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis (PDP) – a Surprising and COMMON Aspect of Parkinson’s Disease
· Approximately one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease[i], but the onset of hallucinations, often visual, and delusions (false beliefs) often comes as a surprise to patients and caregivers even though symptoms may affect about half of people with Parkinson’s over the course of their disease.[ii]
· Only 10-20 percent of caregivers or patients ever report symptoms, possibly because they are embarrassed or do not realize that non-motor symptoms are part of Parkinson’s disease.
· A survey from the Parkinson’s Movement Disorder Association (PMDA) showed that 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s (or their caregivers) have experienced non-movement symptoms associated with Parkinson’s and nearly half felt these were harder to live with than movement symptoms. Further, of those reporting non-movement symptoms, most said they had a significant negative impact on sleeping (60%), planning for future events (55%) and partner intimacy (53%).