Relationship between hallucinations, delusions, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson's disease

Claudio Pacchetti, Raffaele Manni, Roberta Zangaglia, Francesca Mancini, Enrico Marchioni, Cristina Tassorelli, Michele Terzaghi, Maria Ossola, Emilia Martignoni, Arrigo Moglia, Giuseppe Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychotic symptoms are the main and the most disabling "nonmotor" complications of Parkinson's disease (PD), the pathophysiology of which is poorly recognized. Polysomnographic studies have shown a relationship between visual hallucinations and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The objective of this study is to clarify the relationship between psychotic symptoms and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) in PD. In a Parkinson's disease outpatient unit, 289 consecutive subjects with idiopathic PD were administered (in the period from January to December 2002) a multiple-choice questionnaire and structured interview on sleep and mental disorders. RBD was diagnosed in accordance with the minimal diagnostic criteria of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. Hallucinations and delusional disorders were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria. The presence or absence of psychotic symptoms, of RBD, and of daytime sleepiness, as well as motor status, cognitive status, and mood were assessed. Approximately 32% (n = 92) of the subjects presented with psychotic disorders; 30% (n = 86) had experienced hallucinations; 2% (n = 6) had delusions without hallucinations. Sixty-two (72%) hallucinators reported nocturnal hallucinations. A total of 6.6% (n = 19) of the subjects complained of a delusional disorder. There were 26.6% (n = 77) of subjects who presented with RBD: 28 (36%) with onset before and 49 (63%) with onset after PD diagnosis. The presence of RBD was associated with an increased risk of manifesting hallucinations and delusions (odds ratio [OR], 2.73). Other independent clinical factors found to have an effect on psychotic disorders were cognitive impairment (OR, 3.92), disease duration (OR, 2.46), advanced age (OR, 2.34), and severity of motor symptoms (OR, 2.06). These results suggest that RBD is widely associated with psychosis in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1448
Number of pages10
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Parkinson's disease
  • REM sleep behavior disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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