Parkinson's disease is not merely associated with tremor, rigidity, or slowness of movement, many patients also experience mental symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Odile van den Heuvel and Sonja Rutten, both psychiatrists working at Amsterdam UMC, described these problems in their Dutch book 'Parkinson's at the psychiatrist' ('Parkinson bij de psychiater' in Dutch). They see the book as an ode to the resilience and creativity of people with Parkinson's disease (PD). The book has only been published one month ago and already the publisher released the second press.

Since 2010, Van den Heuvel has been treating PD patients with psychiatric symptoms at the outpatient clinic for neuropsychiatry at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. A few years later Rutten joined the clinic. Together, they decided to write a book about their experiences with their patients. As reader you get an insight in the perspective of the psychiatrist and you are included in their observations and medical considerations. Van den Heuvel: "With this book we show that we can treat many psychiatric symptoms. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to look for ways to cope well with persistent symptoms."


The book features twenty personal stories from people with PD, who opened up about their personal experiences in the hope that they can help other patients. For example, to recognize the psychiatric symptoms, being able to talk about difficult topics, seek help and to find a way to deal with the mental side of PD together with loved ones and therapists. Van den Heuvel: "Gradually we became more and more impressed by the vulnerability of people who shared their fears and sorrows with us, but above all their zest for life, love for their loved ones, their creativity and resilience."

Life wisdom

Does this book emphasize the psychiatric treatment of PD patients or rather their personal story? Rutten: "Our first idea was to paint a picture of the most common psychiatric disorders in PD. But as we continued writing, the personal story became more important. The life lessons we learned from all these people are equally as valuable as the medical knowledge we have shared in this book."

Cover of the book Parkinson's at the psychiatrist with a dancing couple.

Media attention

Want to read more about the book and the personal stories of PD patients? Read the following publications in Dutch media.

Parkinson bij de psychiater, Publisher De Geus| €18,99 | ISBN 978 90 445 4466 4