When you get an illness like bronchitis or the flu, you know you will be feeling better and functioning normally within a week or so. Parkinson's disease is different -- it doesn't go away and can change your life and lifestyle in many ways. But, there are steps you can take to help you cope with this chronic illness.
How Can I Make My Life Better With Parkinson's Disease?
The most important step you can take is to seek help right from the beginning. Education and support will help you deal with challenges that lay ahead.. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of the disease. A counselor or 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.
What Types of Help Are Available for Parkinson's Disease?
There are many types of help available for people with Parkinson's disease. Among them are:
- Support groups: Support groups are very useful for sharing experiences. They provide an environment where you can learn new ways of dealing with your illness. You may want to share approaches you have discovered with others. You will also gain strength in knowing that you are not facing hardships alone.
- Individual counseling: Sometimes people have problems that are better addressed in a one-on-one atmosphere. By participating in individual counseling, you may more effectively express sensitive or private feelings you have about your illness and its impact on your lifestyle and relationships.