Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety in Parkinson's disease: a clinical review

J Parkinsons Dis. 2012;2(2):135-51. doi: 10.3233/JPD-2012-12080.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. It is generally defined by its progressive motor features; but increased attention is being paid to its non-motor neuropsychiatric symptoms, which profoundly impact quality of life for patients and caregivers. Anxiety and depression are particularly problematic and are the strongest predictors of quality of life in PD. Recent research has focused on non-pharmacological approaches to treating depression and anxiety in patients with PD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a potentially efficacious non-pharmacological treatment for mood and anxiety symptoms associated with PD. Accordingly, this review examines empirical studies of CBT-based treatments for depression and anxiety symptoms in PD. Medical Subject Headings were used in searches of PsychInfo and PubMed of English-language articles published in peer-reviewed journals, resulting in the identification of 10 articles. Four additional articles were identified from the references of these articles and upon the suggestions of experts, for 15 articles in all. Results of individual studies varied significantly; however, the randomized controlled trials showed encouraging results and support the need for further investigation of the utility of CBT for depressed and anxious patients with PD. CBT is potentially a useful treatment for patients with PD and comorbid depression and/or anxiety, but more systematic research will be necessary to measure its effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation