Common Impulse Disorders Caused by Parkinson’s

By 9  am on
Though many people are aware of the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, there are others that are less commonly discussed. One of the most concerning is how Parkinson’s can cause seniors to engage in impulsive behaviors, which often results from medications taken to combat the condition. Palm Beach Parkinson’s care experts discuss a few of these impulses and offer tips on how to alleviate the behavioral symptoms.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Many seniors diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are prescribed either levodopa or carbidopa. These 2 forms of medication can amplify obsessive behavior and cause seniors to become fixated on increasing their dosage. This unhealthy behavior, known as dopamine dysregulation syndrome, generally affects around 4 percent of seniors who take these medications. You can help your loved one prevent this issue by regularly meeting with his or her doctor to discuss impulses or addictive urges.

Pathological Shopping

Many seniors have careless spending habits, but this type of behavior can be especially concerning for those who have Parkinson’s. In some cases, this issue is the result of aggressive selling tactics designed specifically to take advantage of the elderly. However, if compulsive shopping becomes especially problematic for your loved one, you might need to take charge of his or her finances.


Pathological gambling affects around 5 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s disease. If the gambling addiction is caught early, it can often be managed with a comprehensive therapy program. However, as the pathological gambling and Parkinson’s both progress, a doctor might recommend the use of antidepressants or antipsychotics to suppress the urges.

Sexual Addiction

Hypersexuality is one of the most common impulse control disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease, affecting around 3.5 percent of adults with the condition. This symptom leads to an increase in sexual behavior that has an adverse effect on the senior’s life. While there is no known cure for hypersexuality, some studies have shown altering Parkinson’s medications can reduce the urges. As with other impulsive disorders, an early diagnosis followed by therapy can be helpful in suppressing unhealthy sexual behavior. If your loved one is living with Parkinson’s, find out how to provide him or her with the high-quality care he or she needs by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We provide home care Palm Beach families trust, with expertly trained Parkinson’s caregivers, flexible hourly and live-in care plans, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our care services. Call (561) 429-8292 today to speak with one of our experienced Care Managers and to schedule a no-obligation consultation.


Request Free Information or
Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation