While much research has been conducted towards understanding the basis of visual hallucinations in Parkinson's disease, little has focused on characterizing the content and patients' emotional experience. These factors are likely very influential on a patient's decision to seek treatment, a critical aspect of any symptom from the clinical perspective.
A retrospective chart analysis was performed on Parkinson's disease patients seen in a community-based Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Clinic between 2005 and 2010.
The study consisted of 334 patients with Parkinson's disease, among whom 10.5% had visual hallucinations. Hoehn and Yahr disease stage (P = 0.001), concurrent presence of dementia (P = 0.001),and sex (P = 0.031) were significant onset predictors. The most significant determinant of treatment-seeking was emotional reaction, namely whether hallucinations were bothersome (P = 0.008). However, the specific type of content during hallucinations was sometimes more influential and contradicted emotional response.
Although treatment-seeking can be predicted by how individuals feel about hallucinations, a patient's decision may not be logically consistent. We suggest that clinicians offer treatment based on patients' recollections and opinions.