Understanding Parkinson’s disease hallucinations and delusions
Understanding Parkinson’s disease hallucinations and delusions

What to Look for

Each person’s experience with hallucinations and delusions may be different, making them difficult for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to identify.

SEEING THINGS

Such as people, either living or deceased animals, or objects that aren’t real

HEARING THINGS

Like hearing music or voices that aren’t real

SMELLING THINGS

Familiar, pleasant, and/or unpleasant smells that aren’t there

HAVING FALSE BELIEFS

Which may include fears that your loved ones are stealing from you, putting you in harm’s way, or being unfaithful

FEELING OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY

Like not being able to tell what’s real or imagined

FEELING PARANOID

Such as believing people are talking about you, or trying to access your money

“I was sitting alone in our room when my husband came in and asked why so many people were in the house.”
Actor Portrayal

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON’S EXPERIENCE HALLUCINATIONS AND DELUSIONS?

The exact cause of Parkinson’s hallucinations and delusions is unknown. In general, hallucinations and delusions are thought to be a part of the natural progression of Parkinson’s and/or a side effect of some dopamine therapies.

There’s no way to accurately predict which patients will develop Parkinson’s hallucinations or delusions, but there are a number of risk factors:

Getting older
Duration and severity of Parkinson’s
Certain medications that increase dopamine levels

THE CHALLENGES OF LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S HALLUCINATIONS AND DELUSIONS

If you are living with hallucinations and delusions related to Parkinson’s—or caring for someone experiencing these symptoms—it’s important to talk to a Parkinson’s specialist. These non-motor symptoms may come with additional challenges, and a Parkinson’s specialist can help you learn how to navigate them.

CHANGES AT HOME

Hallucinations and delusions can be stressful for both the person experiencing them as well as their caregiver. These symptoms may also increase the need for additional assistance and support.

LOSING TOUCH WITH REALITY

Hallucinations and delusions can worsen over time, and it gets harder for the people who experience them to know whether or not what they are experiencing is real.

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