Facing and dealing with emotional turbulence: Living with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease

Catharina Sjödahl Hammarlund, Atika Khalaf, Albert Westergren, Petra Lilja Hagell, Peter Hagell

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INTRODUCTION: The experiences of living with Parkinson's disease (PD) from the perspective of newly diagnosed persons with PD (PwPD) have not been previously described.

AIM: This study aimed to gain a better understanding of the impact of living with the early stages of PD.

METHODS: A qualitative interview study was conducted among nine persons, seven men and two women, from southern Sweden. Participants had a median age of 71 (min-max, 64-77) years and had been diagnosed with PD for a median of 5 (min-max, 2-12) months. Interviews were recorded and analysed using systematic text condensation.

RESULTS: The analysis resulted in one core category, Facing and dealing with emotional turbulence, and four categories with 2-3 subcategories each: Something is wrong (Vague signs of change; Losing control); The going gets tough (Recalling; Lack of motivation); Losing direction (Uncertainties; Frightened of disease progression) and Dealing with life (Avoiding social situations; Hope and despair; Ease worries).

CONCLUSION: Newly diagnosed PwPD face emotional turbulence with increasing challenges in managing everyday basic needs. Impaired functioning affects self-esteem and identity, which calls for strategies to overcome emotional reactions of embarrassment, frustration and worry. A sense of lost control and direction increased as the future became more uncertain. The participants' emotional burden and struggle to find a reason to go on or some solution to their new situation left them with both hope and despair. Our results suggest that a person-centred needs-based approach may help newly diagnosed PwPD deal with their new life situation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Early online date2024-Mar-27
Publication statusPublished - 2024-Mar-27

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Health Sciences (303)


  • de novo
  • impact
  • newly diagnosed
  • Parkinson's disease
  • qualitative research


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