Behavioural coping patterns in Parkinson's patients with visual hallucinations

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Visual Hallucinations are considered to affect about 20%–40% of patients with Parkinson's disease. They are generally seen as a side effect of this long-term illness and can severely affect the daily quality of life of patients. The aim of this study was to determine the coping patterns or strategies used by patients and establish whether the phenomenology and behaviours used by patients enabled control of the phenomenon. Demographic and clinical variables were recorded, including motor measures, cognitive status, and depressive symptoms. Patient with hallucinations were at a more advance stage of the disease and displayed more depressive symptoms than their non-hallucinating counterparts. Most patients used more than one constructive coping strategy, the most common were simple behavioural strategies based around motor action or cognitive approaches resulting in visual modification. In addition, humour was a common technique used by the patients to deal with the phenomenon. Emotional responses varied between patients, but it was found that the actual content of the hallucination was not directly associated with whether it caused trouble to the patient, but perceived stress was strongly correlated with the subjective disturbing nature of visual hallucinations (VHs). This study gives insight into the role of cognitive-behavioural approaches when dealing with VHs and opens up avenues for future studies in helping patient to deal with hallucinations.

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