Managing Psychological & Behavioural Symptoms

The following strategies can assist you in delaying the progression and managing the psychological and behavioural symptoms of Huntington’s disease:


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Medication Review

A medication review is vital for the effective management of the psychological and behavioural symptoms of Huntington’s disease. By regularly assessing your medication regimen, your Huntington’s disease specialist and/ or mental health practitioner can tailor treatment to your specific needs, manage side effects, monitor for drug interactions, and adapt your treatment plan as the disease progresses. Regular medication review will ensure you receive optimal care to alleviate your symptoms and enhance your overall well-being.

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Identify Your Triggers

As the disease affects both motor and cognitive functions this can often lead to the presentation of behaviours of concern. If you have noticed this in yourself or others have commented, please do not worry there is a way you can manage this namely by identifying your triggers. Please seek the assistance of your Huntington’s specialist and/or mental health practitioner to assist you to identify your triggers. By understanding what factors or situations provoke certain behaviours, it becomes possible to implement proactive measures to prevent or minimize their occurrence. This may involve modifying your environment, altering daily routines, or employing specific communication techniques to better manage your triggers.

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Consistency and communication is key

It is important when engaging professionals to work with you that you are clear about your wishes, how you want to be supported by them and the best way of establishing consistent communication processes that work for you. It is also important that they know a little about your personality. By minimising the opportunities for miscommunication that inevitably lead to misunderstandings you will be able to maintain control over your own care plan.

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Recognise the Impact of Grief and Loss

Given the genetic nature of the disease whether you realise it or not, Huntington’s disease will have an impact on your future and your ability to live an independent life. Overlooking the effect of this grief may result in unexpected emotional distress and influence your overall well-being. It is essential that you have a support system in place, including healthcare professionals, family members, and/or support groups, to help you navigate through the emotional impact of grief and loss. Engaging a mental health professional such as a counsellor can be extremely helpful in dealing with the unique emotional challenges presented when living with Huntington’s disease. Counsellors can assist you to develop effective coping strategies and maintain a sense of well-being.

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Identify your strengths and learnt skills

Sometimes ‘behaviours’ occur as a result of others misunderstanding you and your wishes. It is important that persons outside your inner circle who are supporting you understand you as a person, your likes and dislikes, hobbies, employment history and your personality. This knowledge will enable your support team to work with you in an informed way. 

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Not everything is a result of Huntington’s disease

Sometimes issues with behaviours may be a result of other health related issues not associated to Huntington’s disease. It is always useful to have your General Practitioner who is familiar with your medical history to perform a medical review.  

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Behaviour Management Plan

The creation of a behaviour management plan is directly linked to issues discussed above. The purpose of a behaviour management plan is to optimize your quality of life, promote your functional independence and minimize the impact of behavioural symptoms on your well-being and relationships. It will provide a structured and supportive framework, for you, your loved ones and support workers to navigate the challenges associated with the disease and maintain the highest possible level of functioning and comfort.