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Apathy and Parkinson’s Disease

What is apathy and why do those with Parkinon’s disease experience it?

If you're experiencing apathy, you may feel a lack of interest, motivation or importance for things, people or events around you, a feeling like you just don't care. While this can be a symptom of mental health, it can also be a symptom of Parkinson's disease. Apathy can affect your ability to participate in daily activities, exercise, relationships and social events. While this symptom is tough for those experiencing it, it can actually be very hard for their caretakers as well.

The exact reason why those with Parkinson’s disease experience apathy is unknown, there are proposed mechanisms for the cause of this symptom. The reduced amount of dopamine produced in the brain is what researchers believe is the cause of apathy. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that not only regulates movement but affects emotions and motivation. 


It is important for those experiencing this feeling and for the caretakers thereof to seek appropriate support. Joining groups with others that have Parkinson’s can be very helpful to relate to others with a similar experience. Establishing a regular routine that is relatively inflexible may also be a helpful technique to tackle motivation issues. Communication is key, and talking about the feelings you are experiencing is always a positive step forward. 

Written by Hannah Pagano

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