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Topic Behavior changes long before diagnosis? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By Merrily On 2011.06.28 18:30
My stepdad was given a diagnosis of PD about five years ago at age 73, but he lost his sense of smell many years earlier--probably 12 to 15 years before he developed any visible symptoms.

Once he was diagnosed, we had an explanation for the physical changes we've seen him go through and for his cognitive problems, but what we (his kids) don't know is how much of his behavior during those 15 years might have been affected by the PD. He became very argumentative and on more than one occasion was really inappropriate.

Our mother doesn't want to discuss this issue with the doctor, and the information I've found online suggests that problems with impulse control, etc. come from PD meds, not from the actual PD. We're just wondering whether family members of PDP often realize after the diagnosis that there were years of atypical behavior beforehand?

By Pearly4 On 2011.06.29 09:12
I can't say there were YEARS of atypical behavior but my mother's behavior changed before her diagnosis. There were a couple of very emotionally traumatic incidences that rocked her world before the diagnosis also. And it wasn't until after the workup to make the final diagnosis (ruling out other things) that we discovered however that she had had a small stroke. I wonder sometimes about the extreme stress and emotionally traumatizing situations having some part in the situation - much as they now will point out that those situations can hinder the body's immune responses to serious illnesses like cancer.

At any rate, I've never personally seen or heard of Parkinson's itself causing behavior problems before diagnosis - doesn't mean it doesn't happen though! Perhaps Lewy Body disease as opposed to true Parkinson's?

By Merrily On 2011.06.29 09:35
Thank you, Pearly. I looked up Lewy Body Disease and you're right that it sounds like a good fit in this case, except for the hallucinations part.

What you shared about your mother's case is interesting to me, too, because it sounds similar to my step-dad's situation. The first signs that anything was wrong with him were interpreted as depression because of recent major life upheavals that would indeed have depressed anyone. He was practically suicidal, which wasn't surprising in the context. And then he went emotionally "flat", and it was only after several months or a year of being flat that cognitive and physical symptoms turned up, eventually leading to his PD diagnosis.

That being said, most of my information about the early progression of his illness came from my mother (we live several hours away) and she is very protective of him and so may not be sharing everything.


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