Impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease (PD) are more common than originally thought, affecting an estimated one in six people with PD taking dopamine agonists. They may appear as unhealthy or compulsive levels of shopping, gambling, eating, sexual activity, or involvement in hobbies. They appear to be related to dopamine replacement therapy, so finding the right level of medications can be a challenge to manage symptoms without incurring impulsivity issues. It is important that people with PD, their care partners, and health care professionals be aware of and recognize these activities so that they can be addressed promptly to avoid, for example, social, emotional, economic, and health issues that may result from these disorders. The harm often goes beyond the person with the disorder and can affect family, friends, and others around them. Once recognized, impulse control disorders can often be managed or eliminated by working with a doctor to change dopamine agonist medications or dosage, or in some cases, even going on to deep brain stimulation.
Dr. Mark Groves, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, discusses the problem of impulse control disorders, what forms they may take, approaches to recognizing them, and the need to acknowledge them as a biologic condition and not a character or personality flaw.
- Fact Sheet: Impulse Control and Parkinson’s Disease
- New Study Examines Impulse Control, REM sleep and Dopamine (Blog: Science News)
- 7 Taboo Parkinson’s Topics and How to Address Them (Blog)
About This Episode
Released: November 3, 2020
Mark Groves, MD
Dr. Mark Groves is psychiatrist specializing in the psychiatric management of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. For the last 17 years, he has been the consulting psychiatrist to the Movement Disorder Division and Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Dr. Groves’s clinical interest in Parkinson’s disease was initially sparked in his early college years when he had 2 Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Summer research fellowships and worked with clinical researchers and patients at Columbia University.
A graduate of Brown University, Dr. Groves attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his residency in Psychiatry and a fellowship in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. He is board certified in Psychiatry, with subspecialty certifications in Psychosomatic Medicine and Neuropsychiatry/Behavioral Neurology.
Dr. Groves has published a number of papers and book chapters on Psychological Reactions to Illness, and clinical aspects of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, but his primary focus is in the direct clinical work with patients, caregivers and multidisciplinary colleagues treating the psychological and non-motor symptoms of patients with movement disorders with psychotherapy, medications and other treatments. He continues to learn from the privileged opportunity of immersing himself in the inner experiences of his patients and partnering in care with other disciplines.
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For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “How to Talk about Impulse Control Disorders.”