Impulsive and compulsive behaviors among Danish patients with Parkinson's disease: prevalence, depression, and personality

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2014 Jan;20(1):22-6. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Introduction: Dopaminergic medication administered to ameliorate motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease is associated with impulse control disorders, such as pathological gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive buying, and binge eating. Studies indicate a prevalence of impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease of 6-16%.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of impulsive and compulsive behaviors among Danish patients with Parkinson's disease and to explore the relation of such behavioral disorders to depression and personality.

Methods: 490 patients with Parkinson's disease (303 males), identified through the National Danish Patient Registry, were evaluated with: 1) the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease; 2) the Geriatric Depression Scale; and 3) the NEO-Personality Inventory.

Results: 176 (35.9%) patients reported impulsive and compulsive behaviors sometime during Parkinson's disease (current symptoms in 73, 14.9%). Hereof, 114 (23.3%) reported multiple behavioral symptoms. Patients with behavioral symptoms were significantly younger, were younger at PD onset, had longer disease duration, displayed more motor symptoms, and received higher doses of dopaminergic medication than patients without behavioral symptoms. Furthermore, they reported significantly more depressive symptoms and scored significantly higher on neuroticism and lower on both agreeableness and conscientiousness than patients without behavioral symptoms.

Conclusion: A history of impulsive and compulsive behaviors are common in Danish patients with Parkinson's disease and have clinical correlates that may allow identification of patients at risk for developing these behaviors.

Keywords: Depression; Impulse control disorders; Parkinson's disease; Personality.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Compulsive Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Compulsive Behavior / etiology
  • Data Collection
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Impulsive Behavior / etiology
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Personality
  • Prevalence