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I'm looking to get tested soon but am sure I have the disease, is that common?

September 30, 2013

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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I'm looking to get tested soon but am sure I have the disease, is that common?

Q. Hi. I’m looking to get tested soon. I am sure I have the disease but don’t show any ‘clinical symptoms’. I understand it is normal to feel this way. I’m just wondering if there is knowledge amongst the professional community about any very very early symptoms? Is it common for the ‘at riskers’ to suffer from ‘med students syndrome’?

Neville, young adult, Australia

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A. Hi Neville

Thanks for the email.

It’s really common that people have “med students syndrome” but it is worth exploring it a bit.

The most common reason people feel like this is a kind of rationalisation. Something like “it’s best to assume the worst, so anything better than that is a bonus”

Occasionally, people get those kind of thoughts if they are down in their mood. In those circumstances, they are feeling pessimistic about everything, not just HD.

Finally, people can get those thoughts as a form of obsessional rumination (the thought is really persistent and resists any attempt at reasoning)

From the wording of your email, I’m wondering if you are ruminating on this. If I’m right, then you’ll probably be scanning the fine detail of this email to try and find some re-assurance, but end up worrying about something I’ve written!

If it’s either rumination or depression, then this can be helped (psychotherapy or medication). If it’s for any other reason then the best thing to do is just to chat over how you’re feeling to a close friend or relative.

Best wishes

Hugh