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Do I just have the chorea and mental symptoms?

March 31, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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Do I just have the chorea and mental symptoms?

Q. My mother, grandmother, and 3 uncles have died from HD. My brother is 36 and has been having the symptoms for the last 5-6 years. I am 22 and I’ve known about HD for a long time since I was about 5 or 6.

In the last 2-3 years my memory has gotten pretty bad as well as behavioral. I get depressed, I have anxiety, I get angry for little things at times other then all of that I’ve only noticed I cant stay completely still. Like this silly thing I do with my husband, I like to hide and jump out and scare my husband and I notice when im trying to stay still my arms are neck jerk but I never notice then when im moving around or on the go. When I lay down at night and im lying still my neck makes my head jerk slightly. In the last couple years ive gotten lazy also about everything I dont even want to leave the house or be around people. I sometimes thing I have HD but like they say if you think about it enough your brain will trick you into thinking you have it but ive known about HD my whole life bascially and I notice these things. Im scared to tell my husband I think I have it. He knows my medical history but im not sure I do but I feel like I do. Im not the same me that I used to be. My question is finally… Can I be suffering from the mental/ behavioral part with little movement ? I know it affects everyone differently but I dont see chorea.. or enough movement to call it that.

Could I be suffering from just the mental part and the chorea and other symptoms come later or is what going on with me normal? I dont feel normal like I used to

Cici, Young Adult, US

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A. Dear Cici,

Thanks for your email. Firstly, it’s possible that HD can present with mental/behavioural symptoms. The problem with this is that lots of people, without HD, have very similar mental/behavioural problems (anxiety, depression, irritability) so it’s difficult to tell if these are related to HD. Also, it’s unusual for someone of your age to have HD. If you don’t feel “normal” it might be worth visiting a local doctor, who might be able to treat some of the symptoms that are concerning you.

Best wishes

Hugh Rickards