Social Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

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Parkinson's Disease



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© 2020 Margaret T. M. Prenger et al. Parkinson's disease (PD) is typically well recognized by its characteristic motor symptoms (e.g., bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor). The cognitive symptoms of PD are increasingly being acknowledged by clinicians and researchers alike. However, PD also involves a host of emotional and communicative changes which can cause major disruptions to social functioning. These incude problems producing emotional facial expressions (i.e., facial masking) and emotional speech (i.e., dysarthria), as well as difficulties recognizing the verbal and nonverbal emotional cues of others. These social symptoms of PD can result in severe negative social consequences, including stigma, dehumanization, and loneliness, which might affect quality of life to an even greater extent than more well-recognized motor or cognitive symptoms. It is, therefore, imperative that researchers and clinicans become aware of these potential social symptoms and their negative effects, in order to properly investigate and manage the socioemotional aspects of PD. This narrative review provides an examination of the current research surrounding some of the most common social symptoms of PD and their related social consequences and argues that proactively and adequately addressing these issues might improve disease outcomes.

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