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How do i cope with my dads bursts of anger?

May 17, 2013

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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How do i cope with my dads bursts of anger?

Q. How do i cope with my dads bursts of anger?

Reuben, 14, UK

A. Hi Reuben,

Thank you for sending a question to HDYO. You ask a very good question regarding how to cope with your dad’s bursts of anger.

Aggression is something that many young people experience when (usually living) with someone who has HD. Some people have aggressive behaviour before HD and then once they get HD they may become even more aggressive and unstable. But most people are not aggressive before HD and then suddenly change and become aggressive or have outbursts of anger at times which seems very unusual and unlike them. This is because HD can cause behavioural changes, meaning that someone may become angry and have outbursts when they never used to before. That change can be difficult to cope with, you are not alone in trying to deal with that change Reuben.

You ask about how to cope. Firstly it is really important you feel safe, and if you don’t feel safe you can always ask for help through 999. Secondly, many young people find it useful to leave the house or go to their room when their parent is having an outburst. Go for a walk if you can, or go to a friend’s house. This can allow your dad time to calm down. Another tip is to avoid arguing with your dad when he is having an outburst. Usually arguing back makes things worse. Lastly, medication can help with behavioural symptoms of HD so if possible you could speak with someone who could help address whether your dad has the right meds at the moment. It may be that a change in meds could help.

I hope this helps Reuben, I have given you a general response to this question but perhaps if you told me more about what happens when your dad has these outbursts and how it affects you we could talk more specifically about your situation and offer some help. If you would like to talk more about this I am here to listen and offer support.

Take care for now,