Huntington's Disease

by Erin Todd

What is Huntington's Disease?

Huntington's disease is a mental disorder, affecting a person's ability to talk, move, and think. It is a dominant autosomal, or single-gene, disease. It is an inherited disease and destroys cells in the brain. It is typically found in adults between 30-50, but can be found earlier in life.
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Huntington's disease causes many symptoms as well as physical, psychiatric, and mental disorders.

Some physical disorders:

  • involuntary jerking movements
  • inability to swallow or speak
  • slow eye movements
  • bad balance and posture

Some physical disorders:

  • withdrawal from social interactions
  • loss of energy
  • insomnia
  • thoughts of death and suicide

Some mental disorders:

  • difficulty focusing
  • lack of awareness
  • difficulty learning new information
  • slowness in thought processing

Huntington's disease can also cause:

  • OCD
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Mania

Symptoms in Adolescents

The symptoms of Huntington's disease can be different in juveniles. Some symptoms are:

  • problems with behavior
  • drop in school performance
  • changes in motor skills, like handwriting
  • seizures


Some medicines can help treat Huntington's, such as:

  • Tetrabenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Keppra
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics

Other treatment methods include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy