BACKGROUND: Along with classical motor disorders in Parkinson's disease (PD), psychopathological features frequently co-occur, which may increase the caregiver's burden.
AIMS: To identify the profile of psychopathological symptoms in patients with PD and the impact imposed by this condition on the caregiver's burden.
SUBJECTS: Fifty patients with idiopathic PD seen consecutively at the Movement Disorder Outpatient Clinic at the Hospital of State University of Campinas, Brazil, and their 50 respective caregivers were studied.
METHODS: The 50 patients with PD were divided into three groups according to the respective psychiatric diagnosis received (depression: N = 17, dementia: N = 13 and non-depressed and non-demented: N = 20). We divided the caregivers into three groups according to the mental condition of their patients. To assess the mental condition of patients and the caregiver's burden, and to correlate those psychopathological features found with clinical features of PD, we applied the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).
RESULTS: Patients with dementia presented the highest NPI scores of psychopathological symptoms (26.4), followed by patients with depression (24.9). Non-depressed and non-demented patients revealed fewer symptoms (7.2). Caregivers' burden was found to be proportional to the degree of patients' symptomatology.
CONCLUSION: Patients with dementia presented more severe motor impairment and lower functionality, followed by patients with depression and those non-demented, non-depressed. Psychotic symptoms, agitation, aberrant motor behaviours and sleep disturbances were higher in dementia group. Neuropsychiatric disturbances correlated with caregiver's burden, which was highest in patients with dementia.