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  • Engage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

You aren't lazy...its apathy

Updated: Oct 31, 2020



So often people with PD feel discouraged that it is hard to get motivated, especially when it comes to exercise and making lifestyle changes. Family members may feel like the individual is lazy or does not want to help themselves. This is not the case....it is a non-motor symptom of PD called apathy. Apathy is a lack of interest or motivation which can make it hard to start an exercise program (remember exercise is medicine for PD), staying on a schedule with medication, and stick with a healthy lifestyle. Along with apathy individuals may also experience depression and fatigue, making it even harder to get motivated. Apathy is related to the lower levels of dopamine in your brain, which is so important in motivation and goal related activities. Here are some tips to improve life with apathy:

  • Ask for help from family or friends. It is easier to stay on track with the help of others. Social activities can also help to manage apathy.

  • Stick with a schedule. Having a schedule can help to keep you motivated. You can have it written out or use your phone for reminders.

  • Reward yourself for small wins. This can help with staying motivated.

  • Find exercises that you enjoy. If you don't love to run or swim then those would not be the best exercise path for you to do regularly.

  • Get good sleep. If you are not rested it is hard to be motivated during the day.

  • Set goals for the week. This can also help with motivation. Remember from earlier where we made SMART goals. This is a great way to make a goal measurable and stay on track.

  • Talk to your MD if you don't have any get up and go. It may be time to look at your medications to maximize dopamine.


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