Get access

Parkinson's disease: The quintessential neuropsychiatric disorder


  • Daniel Weintraub MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. Parkinson's Disease and Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECC and MIRECC), Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    • Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David J. Burn MD

    1. Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    2. Newcastle University Clinical Ageing Research Unit, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

    Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


Although diagnosed by characteristic motor features, Parkinson's disease may be preceded, and is frequently accompanied by, a wide range of cognitive and neuropsychiatric features. In addition to the most commonly studied disorders of dementia, depression, and psychosis, other relatively common and clinically significant psychiatric complications include impulse control disorders, anxiety symptoms, disorders of sleep and wakefulness, and apathy. These problems may be underrecognized and are frequently undertreated. The emergent focus on nonmotor aspects of Parkinson's disease over the past quarter of a century is highlighted by a nonlinear increase in the number of articles published devoted to this topic. Although the development of newer antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and cholinesterase inhibitors in recent years has had a positive benefit on the management of these troublesome and distressing symptoms, responses are frequently suboptimal, and this remains an area of major unmet therapeutic need. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society