Apathy (and depression) in Parkinson’s Disease – Webinar notes

Recently, PMD Alliance offered a webinar on apathy in Parkinson’s disease (PD).  Though the webinar focused on PD, the discussion of apathy is relevant to all of the disorders in the Brain Support Network community.

In my experience coordinating caregiver support groups, I have found that understanding that apathy can be a common symptom of a disease, can make the situation more manageable for the caregiver.

The panel of speakers — three movement disorder specialists, two people with PD, and a daughter/caregiver — discussed what apathy means and how it can be confused with depression, as well as some tips and strategies for living with apathy.

The webinar began with a definition of apathy as compared to depression:

Often confused with depression, apathy is a state of indifference, lack of concern or interest, and severe absence of initiative. A person who previously tended to plan or instigate activities may now be content to sit in a corner doing nothing for much of the day. Depression typically involves feelings of sadness or hopelessness, while an apathetic person might feel fine. Depression may also fluctuate, while apathy tends to be fairly constant.

Lauren Stroshane at Stanford Parkinson’s Community Outreach listened to the webinar and shared her notes here: