Journal of Psychology and Cognition

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Short Communication - Journal of Psychology and Cognition (2023) Volume 8, Issue 3

The psychology of Huntington's disease: Understanding the emotional and behavioural challenges of living with the condition.

Ethane Chan*

Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Corresponding Author:
Ethane Chan
Department of Psychology
National University of Singapore Singapore.

Received: 24-Apr-2023, Manuscript No. AAJPC-23-94268; Editor assigned: 25-Apr-2023, PreQC No. AAJPC-23-94268 (PQ); Reviewed: 09-May-2023, QC No. AAJPC-23-94268; Revised: 13-May-2023, Manuscript No. AAJPC-23-94268 (R); Published: 20-May-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aajpc - 8.3.177

Citation: Chan E. The psychology of Huntington’s disease: Understanding the emotional and behavioural challenges of living with the condition. J Psychol Cognition. 2023;8(3):177

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Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, meaning that only one copy of the mutated gene is needed for an individual to develop the disease. If one parent has the mutation, there is a 50% chance that their child will inherit the mutated gene and develop the disease.


The symptoms of Huntington's disease typically develop between the ages of 30 and 50, although they can sometimes appear earlier or later in life. The symptoms of Huntington's disease can be divided into three categories: motor, cognitive, and psychological [1].

Motor symptoms

The motor symptoms of Huntington's disease typically appear first and worsen over time. They include: Involuntary movements, such as jerking, twitching, or writhing movements of the face, limbs, and torso. Impaired coordination and balance, leading to difficulties with walking, running, and other physical activities. Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as writing, buttoning clothes, or handling utensils. Slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.

Cognitive symptoms

The cognitive symptoms of Huntington's disease can affect memory, attention, and decision-making. They include: Difficulty with planning, organizing, and executing tasks. Impaired short-term memory. Difficulty with decision-making and problem-solving. Inability to concentrate or focus for extended periods [2].

Psychological symptoms

Psychological symptoms can include Depression and feelings of hopelessness. Anxiety and excessive worrying. Irritability and mood swings. Difficulty controlling impulses, leading to risky behaviours or compulsions.


Neurological assessments can also be useful in diagnosing Huntington's disease, as they can help to identify abnormalities in the brain that are characteristic of the disease [3].


There is currently no cure for Huntington's disease, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. The management of Huntington's disease typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, involving healthcare professionals such as neurologists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.


Medications can be used to manage motor symptoms such as involuntary movements and rigidity. Drugs such as tetrabenazine and deutetrabenazine can help to reduce the severity of involuntary movements, while drugs such as benzodiazepines and antipsychotics can help to manage psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irritability [4].

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help to maintain strength and flexibility, as well as improve balance and coordination. Physical therapists can also provide advice on assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs that can help with mobility [5].


Huntington's disease is a complex and devastating neurodegenerative disorder with profound effects on individuals and their families. It is caused by a genetic mutation leading to the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain, primarily affecting movement, cognition, and behaviour. Continued efforts in scientific research, along with increased societal awareness and support, are crucial in the pursuit of effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure for this devastating condition.


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