Research Insights

Psychiatric comorbidities in patients with Parkinson’s disease and psychosis

Marsh, L., J. R. Williams, et al (2004) Psychiatric comorbidities in patients with Parkinson’s disease and psychosis , 63(2): 293-300

Approximately 15-40% of PD patients will experience hallucinations or delusions (typically from medication). These authors wanted to investigate comorbid diagnoses in patients with PD and psychosis (auditory/visual hallucinations or delusions) and the resultant effects on motor and cognitive deficits, physical disability, and caregiver distress. 50 PD patients were studied longitudinally, 25 with no psychosis or current/past psychiatric diagnosis (e.g. depression, anxiety, apathy syndrome, and delirium) and 25 with current psychosis, 11 without a psychiatric diagnosis and 14 with at least one psychiatric diagnosis. They found that the psychosis groups in general had more advanced PD, greater motor impairment, and ADL functional deficits (completion of everyday activities). The psychosis patients with a psychiatric diagnosis had worse cognitive impairments in memory and mental flexibility and higher caregiver distress as compared to the other two groups. As there are effective treatments for psychiatric diagnoses, these authors suggest that clinicians ask more specific questions regarding psychiatric diagnoses. They also suggest that future research needs to focus on predictors of psychosis in PD patients for long term outcome.

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