Anxiety in PD

Anxiety can affect quality of life in Parkinson's Disease (PD) for both the person with PD and the caregiver/family. Here are some good resources to understand anxiety and how it can be treated.

NOTE: If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars | Expert-level Resources

Downloadable Documents (PDF)

Anxiety and Parkinson's

Published by Parkinson's Disease Society of the United Kingdom, updated March 2015

This eight-page information sheet (PDF) details at what point anxiety becomes a disorder and what can be done when it does get out of control. Available in both PDF and Word.

Anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease

Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation, 2019

This 2-page fact sheet (PDF) explains that there are four types of anxiety.  It outlines the psychological and biological factors that contribute to feelings of anxiety, as well as how anxiety is diagnosed and treated with both psychotherapy and non-conventional therapies.  Tips for living with anxiety are also outlined.

Anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease: The Patient's Perspective

Published by the Parkinson Alliance, Fall 2018

This 15-page research report (PDF) summarizes how anxiety manifests in Parkinson's disease (PD) and treatment options before outlining the objectives, methods, and results of a survey on anxiety among those with PD.

Online Articles


Published by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA), Last reviewed February 2018

This webpage discusses different kinds of anxiety disorders, how those with PD my experience anxiety, diagnosing anxiety in people with PD (including two ratings scales used in diagnosing anxiety), how you can help yourself, treatments (including relaxation, medication, counseling, psychotherapy and support groups) and related reading.


Published by Parkinson's Foundation

Anxiety is a common non-motor symptom of PD due to both biological and psychological factors, and can manifest in several ways.  Read a detailed explanation of anxiety in PD, including diagnosis, both medical and non-medical treatment options, and some tips for living with anxiety. 

Anxiety and Parkinson’s: Ask the Expert

By Annie Amjad.  Published by Parkinson’s UK, May 7, 2018

Amjad explains that 31% of people with PD will have symptoms of anxiety. This blog post identifies the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety and the factors that make it more likely someone with PD will experience anxiety. Treatment options include SSRI medications and psychological treatments, like CBT.  The best coping strategy is to continue doing things that make us anxious, but in a way that allows us to feel in control.  A few ways to do this are outlined.

Anxiety in PD

By Maria De León, MD.  Published by, March 10, 2017

Dr. Maria De León speaks from her own experience, both as a neurologist and young onset patient, about why anxiety is underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  There are several presentations of anxiety and the symptoms mimic many other illnesses.   For the proper diagnosis and the right treatment maintain a diary of symptoms and their timing, frequency, relationship to medication, food, and activity.  Medications to treat are listed.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help You Live Well with Parkinson's

By Roseanne D. Dobkin, PhD.  Published by the Davis Phinney Foundation, August 4, 2021

This article explains what cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is and some tools you can learn through CBT to cope with depression and anxiety symptoms of Parkinson's.  It includes self-assessment questions to determine if your mood is as good as you would like it to be.

The Relationship Between Stress, Anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease

By Dr. Rebecca Gilbert.  Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), June 17, 2019

This blog post explains that stress and anxiety can be difficult to discern from one another because they manifest in indistinguishable ways.  PD symptoms worsen and can become less responsive to medication during periods of stress.  Adding medications to control anxiety can be helpful, but lifestyle modifications including exercise, meditation, psychotherapy and other complementary therapies should be considered.

Podcasts & Webinars

Anxiety and Behavioral Disturbances in PD

By PMD Alliance, October 6, 2022

In this one-hour webinar Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Greg Pontone, MD, outlines how anxiety commonly manifests in PD and four types of anxiety that are unique to PD, followed by treatment options and a flowchart showing how doctors approach treatment options, including the combination pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. Finally, Dr. Pontone discussed impulse control disorder (ICD), dopamine dysregulation syndrome, punding, and treatment options for these behavioral disorders before answering questions.
Webinar Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog

Anxiety & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in PD

By the American Parkinson Disease Association, February 15, 2023

In this 33-minute video Siddhartha Nadkarnim MD, explains how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can play an impactful role in helping people living with PD manage and conquer their anxiety.

Anxiety and Depression in Parkinson’s and How to Manage Them

By the Davis Phinney Foundation, February 24, 2020

Approximately 50-60% of people living with Parkinson’s experience varying levels of depression and anxiety.  Learn about the differences between depression and anxiety and how they are related; different types of depression and anxiety; causes of depression and anxiety in people living with PD; when and how to treat depression and/or anxiety; the latest in treatments, including non-pharmacological interventions.  The speaker is Gregory Pontone, MD, director, Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease Neuropsychiatry Clinic.  [You must fill out an online form to receive an email with a link to the recording.]

Anxiety & Parkinson's

By Oregon Health & Sciences University, April 22, 2021

Part of OHSU's Essential Tools for Managing PD Educational Series, this recording has two speakers over 2 1/4 hours, including Q&A.  The first is psychiatrist Joel Mack, MD, who speaks about anxiety in Parkinson's Disease and how to manage it.  The second is psychologist Kristine Hanna, PhD, who focuses on several tools in the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) toolbox.  CBT is the gold standard for treatment of anxiety in the general population and those with PD.
Note: the presentation begins about 30-minutes into the recording.

Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease

By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson’s Foundation), January 5, 2016

In this 68-minute webinar with slides, Dr. Joseph H. Friedman talks about anxiety in Parkinson’s disease, including treatment options.  
Presenter's slides

Depression and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease

By the Michael J. Fox Foundation, June 16, 2016

This 1-hour event includes an interview of a person with Parkinson’s disease, a psychiatrist, and a neuropsychiatrist.  Panelists discuss the causes of depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms, and how to treat and manage this aspect of life with the disease.

Mental Health and Parkinson's

By Parkinson Society British Columbia, March 30, 2021

In this 1-hour talk, clinical counselor Courtney Doherty describes depression, anxiety, and apathy -- all common changes in mood in Parkinson’s disease (PD).  And she provides extensive information for how these changes can be treated, particularly in non-pharmacological ways.


Mood & Cognition: Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease & how it impacts relationships

By Parkinson’s Canada, March 3, 2020 

This 1-hour webinar will help you deal with relationship issues stemming from mood and cognitive changes that occur as a result of living with Parkinson’s disease.  The webinar also focuses on various communication strategies. 
Webinar notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog

Moving with Mood Changes in Aging and Parkinson’s:  A Look at Depression and Anxiety

By the Michael J. Fox Foundation, June 2020

In this one-hour webinar a panel of physicians and people with PD that include a psychiatrist, neurologist, and a music producer discuss how and why mood changes, such as depression and anxiety, happen in Parkinson’s, how you and your loved ones can talk about these symptoms with each other and with your providers, and what treatment options are available.

Webinar Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog

Understanding the Emotionality of Parkinson's

By PMD Alliance, August 2, 2021

Movement disorders specialist Mindy Bixby speaks for about 35-minutes on the mechanisms that contribute to mood changes in PD, then answers questions.  Her focus goes beyond anxiety and depression to include behavior changes.  She offers both pharmaceutical and natural ways to counter these changes.

Expert-Level Resources

Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease: Identification and Management

By Jack J. Chen and Laura Marsh.  Published in Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, January 7, 2014

The authors recognize the importance of treating anxiety in PD for quality of life issues for both patient and caregiver, but note that there is a paucity of treatment data.

Last updated March 2024 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach.