Depression is often dismissed as an understandable reaction to being diagnosed with Huntington's Disease.
While a saddened mood is an understandable response to the life changes and loss of abilities resulting from HD, research
and clinical experience show that many HD patients do not suffer from clinical depression.
However, when depression does occur in HD, it often appears to be the direct result of changes in the brain
caused by the disease. Brain changes due to HD can alter neurotransmitters, the chemicals that regulate moods. Thus, depression
in HD is partly biological and partly situational, as an affected individual becomes aware of the life changes that may result
One of the challenges in managing depression for a person with HD is the diagnosis. Unfortunately, many
of the symptoms of HD, such as memory loss, weight loss and apathy, resemble the symptoms of depression, thus making it potentially
difficult to diagnose depression in an individual who has HD.
Because patients with HD often have difficulty describing their emotional state, a specific complaint of
a depressed mood is usually not necessary to diagnose depression.