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Pathological gambling in Parkinson's disease

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 19 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:810
  1. Sui H Wong, neurology specialist registrar,
  2. Malcolm J Steiger, consultant neurologist
  1. Department of Neurology, Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool L9 7LJ
  1. suiwong{at}

    Patients often are in substantial debt before the problem is recognised

    Parkinson's disease is common. It is estimated to affect around one in 200 people in the developed world (between six and 11 people per general practice in the United Kingdom).1 For many patients, care is shared between general practitioners, geriatricians, general physicians, and neurologists, often alongside specialist nurses. Motor symptoms and signs of Parkinson's disease are well recognised, yet the behavioural problems are less well known, particularly the recently described problems of pathological gambling and other addictive behaviours.2 3 4 5 6 7Pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder characterised by excessive gambling.8 The prevalence of pathological gambling in Parkinson's disease is about 3.4%, rising to 7.2% in patients taking dopamine agonists.6 In contrast, the lifetime prevalence of pathological gambling in the general population in the …

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