The relationship between impulsivity and impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2008 Feb 15;23(3):411-5. doi: 10.1002/mds.21872.


A range of behaviors presumed to be related to dopaminergic medications have been recently recognized in Parkinson's disease (PD). We evaluated 50 consecutive cognitively intact PD patients on stable dopamine agonist and levodopa therapy and 100 healthy controls for compulsive sexual behavior, compulsive buying, or intermittent explosive disorders assessed by the Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview (MIDI), pathological gambling (South Oaks Gambling Screen, SOGS), impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale), compulsivity (Maudsley obsessional-compulsive inventory), and depression scores (Geriatric Depression Scale). Overall 28% PD (14/50) and 20% healthy controls (20/100) reported at least one abnormal behavior at MIDI or pathological SOGS score. PD patients had higher scores than controls for impulsivity (P = 0.006), compulsivity (P < 0.001), and depression (P < 0.001). There was no correlation between impulsivity, compulsivity, and depression scores in PD. Male gender and higher impulsivity score, but not dose and kind of dopaminergic medications, were associated in PD with increased probability of impulsive disorders at MIDI. Impulse control disorders are also common in the control population. Individual susceptibility factors, such as high impulsivity and depression, underline abnormal behaviors in PD patients treated with stable dopaminergic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Compulsive Behavior / etiology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / complications*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales