My Story

My medications

My name is Rick and this is my story about Drugs for Parkinson's disease that are known as Dopamine Agonists and the related Compulsive Gambling Disorder that has robbed my wife and I of all we have worked for leaving us in debt for many years to come Broken heart

Both working full time, we always stayed ahead with bills and always paid our credit card in full if we did use it. We were never late with any payments in 30+ years of being married, and had our 30 year mortgage paid in full in 9 years which allowed us to save more for retirement. Now after all our sacrifice, we are in debt; our retirement savings is gone, loans have been taken from my wifes retirement and we have had to refinance our home and have 10's of thousands on credit cards.

We did do as much as a lot of people we know; but we owned our home, felt secure and on track.

Then it came, like a theif in the night and took away what we had worked so hard for in no time at all.

For many of you with Parkinson's, you know exactly what I am talking about and many are in the same, or worse situation.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2010 and I was started on Carbidopa/Levodopa (AKA Sinemet®). The Dopamine Agonist, Ropinirole (Requip®) was then added to the Sinemet.

I would ocassionally go to a casino just for something to do with a small amount of cash and leave when it was gone. But after starting to take Ropinerale that changed and slowly grew into the theif that robbed us blind before we even realized how bad the problem had grown.

I had to stop working because of awkwardness, confusion, visual difficulty and frustration with being unable to concentrate or focus on one or more things. This was hard; I loved my job, and now I needed some thing to do. 

Spending more time on the slots and more money did not appear to be the issue that it grew into. I was not thinking clearly and was drawn in to lights and sounds and the possibility of winning, but it gave me something to do and my wife was sympathetically on board with it. And, so it continued and grew as we borrowed from our 401k's, took out additional credit cards and home equity loans and eventually were forced to refinance our home. 

Today, we monitor my spending activities, I have taken the precaution of banning myself from the local casinos, and there is absolutly no thought of going to a casino. At the same time, we struggle to pay back the debt that was incurred. We have both taken all of our retirement funds and exhausted all our resources. We went to my neurologists office fully ready and expecting to have to join gamblers anonymous but we were told that it would not help, and not to blame myself because it was the drugs. I was weaned off the Ropinerole for 28 days and when it was out of my system, I could not comprehend what or how this could have happened and felt like I had awakened from a bad dream; I had no idea how I could have brought us to this point. I do not know the person that had done this and still wonder how it all could have happened and went so far!

Do not make the mistake of thinking that anyone at the casino cares. Athough, I have read that they are required to monitor for and deal with such issues, I can tell your first hand that they will do nothing accept take your money. Unable to sleep or eat, I have spent countless hours at a time continuously returning to the cashier or ATM for more money. I have even told several of the workers of my illness, (and it is obvious to people) but the casinos took no action.

When you have a room for the night and arrive in the middle of the afternoon but never use that room to sleep, and continue to play until you leave the next day without eating (when free food is available) and you do not realize that something is wrong it is definitly the drugs.

These people need friends, family and the casino's to help and watch out for them or this will never end!

My sole purpose for creating this site is to make both patients and caregivers aware of what can happen so that hopefully you may be able to avoid what has happened to us and continues to happen to so many others.

The levels of devastation are very real; We were lucky enough to have some great people that helped us avoid the potential of losing our home. Others have lost, their home, their spouse and very sadly even taken their own life. Sad

If this is happening in your life,

do not delay, it will only grow worse.

Caretakers/friends/family - Be Aware!

Learn what to watch for and be there!





Tabs contain links to information that my wife and I have found usefull in dealing with this and other Parkinsons related issues.


There is no video clip yet