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Meds, Not Parkinson’s, Can Increase Risk of Compulsive Behavior

For decades, researchers have found that some individuals with Parkinson’s disease struggle with impulse control problems such as compulsive gambling and shopping.

Now, new research determines the impulse problems come not from Parkinson’s disease itself, but as a side effect of medications used to control it.

The new research is published in the journal Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“We’ve known for some time that these behaviors are more common in people taking certain Parkinson’s medications, but we haven’t known if the disease itself leads to an increased risk of these behaviors,” said study author Daniel Weintraub, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania.

The study involved 168 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had not yet taken any medications for the disease. They were compared to 143 people of similar ages who did not have the disease.

The participants were given a questionnaire asking how often they had impulse control symptoms such as compulsive gambling, shopping, sexual behavior or eating.

Participants were also asked about aimless wandering, punding (which is excessive repetition of non-goal directed activity, such as continual handling and sorting of common objects) and hobbyism (the compulsive pursuit of a hobby such as collecting, cleaning or excessive Internet use).

Those with Parkinson’s disease were no more or less likely to have the impulse control symptoms than those without the disease, with about 20 percent of each group having symptoms.

“These results provide further evidence that impulse control disorders that occur in people with Parkinson’s disease are related to the exposure to the dopamine-related drugs, not just the disease itself,” Weintraub said.

“More long-term studies are needed to determine if the 20 percent of people who have some symptoms of these disorders are more likely to develop impulse control disorders once they start treatment for Parkinson’s.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Meds, Not Parkinson’s, Can Increase Risk of Compulsive Behavior

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Meds, Not Parkinson’s, Can Increase Risk of Compulsive Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/01/09/parkinsons-disease-does-not-increase-risk-of-addictions/50191.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.