Psychiatric symptoms that may present after being diagnosed with Huntington’s include the following:
- Irritability and feelings of sadness
- Insomnia or an interruption in sleep patterns
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of energy or motivation to be active and fatigue
Clinical depression is very common in individuals living with Huntington’s disease as the physical limitations its symptoms force them to live with can be overwhelming and hard to handle.
Treatment and Prevention of Huntington’s Disease
To prevent passing along the mutated gene that causes Huntington’s, parents should enlist in the help of genetic testing, and individuals who would like to have children should speak with a genetic counselor to understand their options. Because the disease is hereditary, there will likely be a known family history of the disease, so testing is the best first step.
Other options for families hoping to have a child, who may have concerns about passing on the Huntington’s gene, may explore options such as family planning, adoption, donors, or in vitro fertilization.
As far as treatments for Huntington’s disease go, medical treatments aim to alleviate the symptoms and bring comfort and a better quality of life for the patient. Medications that help with chorea can help mitigate some of the struggles patients experience due to muscle function decline. Antidepressants can help patients with the mental health struggles they may face as the disease progresses. Physical therapy is almost always included in an individual’s treatment plan and is typically used in conjunction with speech therapies as the disease inhibits speech and swallowing. Anyone living with Huntington’s understands that as the disease progresses, they will need more and more support from people experiencing the same journey. For those suffering, support groups help not only themselves but also their family and loved ones understand and network to help with the challenges and struggles that can be imperative to your mental and physical health. There is no cure for Huntington’s.
If you’d like to help fund the most promising research projects to help pave the way for the treatments and, hopefully, an eventual cure for brain diseases and disorders like Huntington’s Disease, please consider donating to the United Brain Foundation today. For updates on current and upcoming research projects and news and events from the United Brain Association, please sign up for our newsletter, here. Together, we can find a cure.