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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

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Frequently Asked Questions About Parkinson's Disease

5. How Do I Know if I Am a Candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation?

There are many important issues to be addressed when considering deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson's disease. These issues should be discussed with a movement disorders expert or a specially trained neurologist. A movement disorders expert is someone who has trained specifically in movement disorders.

One of the most important criteria is that you try drug treatment first. Surgery is not recommended if medications can adequately control the disease. However, surgery should be considered if you do not achieve satisfactory control with medications. Talk to your doctor to see if deep brain stimulation is right for you.

6. How Can I Better Cope With Having Parkinson's Disease?

The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope with Parkinson's disease. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of your condition. A mental health care provider can design a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life.

Other steps you can take include the following.

  • Find out as much as you can about the illness.
  • Talk to your friends and family about it. Don't isolate them. They will want to be involved in helping you.
  • Do things you enjoy.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms that you don't understand or remember. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
  • Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in your community.
  • Learn to manage stress. This will help you to maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook on life. Being stressed out will only make the situation worse. You should try to organize a daily routine that will reduce stress, with down time for both you and your family members.
  • If you are depressed -- and this is more than just feeling sad occasionally -- antidepressants can be prescribed to help lift your mood.

7. What Is Guided Imagery?

Guided imagery is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind -- a "mental escape."

This technique, which can aid any treatment or procedure, provides a powerful psychological strategy that enhances a person's coping skills. Many people dealing with stress feel loss of control, fear, panic, anxiety, helplessness, and uncertainty. Research has shown that guided imagery can dramatically counteract these effects. It can help people overcome stress, anger, pain, depression, insomnia, and other problems often associated with illnesses and medical/surgical procedures. It is clear that stress and depression can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. By using guided imagery, you can stay calm.

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