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Are my symptoms anxiety or Huntington's disease?

May 29, 2015

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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Are my symptoms anxiety or Huntington's disease?

Q. My mother has HD and she has 36 CAG repeats. Since she got her diagnosis, 3 months ago, I started an anxiety disorder.

I got into my mind that I have the disease and I think about it 24 hours per day and soon I began to experience symptoms – I have the need to be always waging my neck, contracting all my muscles, having muscle spasms, tingles and tremors in my fingers. Then I decided to go to a geneticist, who told me that I can come to have, at most, 39 CAG repeats and that HD can develop at an older age. But this didn’t stop all the symptoms that I am experiencing… Can I develop HD sooner or can this all be psychosomatic, caused by the anxiety that I’m feeling?

Jorge, Teen, Brazil

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A. Hi Jorge, Thanks for the message. From the story you give, it’s very unlikely that your symptoms are to do with HD, and very likely that they are related to anxiety.

HD symptoms usually start really slowly (over many months and years).

However, you still have symptoms and they need to be diagnosed and treated (this may be treatment for anxiety) so I think you would probably need to see a doctor who specialises in anxiety and neurological symptoms.

With best wishes

Hugh Rickards