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Anxiety-Dr.Paulsen
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Anxiety
Published by HOPES
(Huntington's Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford University)

While it is common for an individual with HD to experience anxiety about the future, sometimes excess worry occurs over seemingly trivial matters. Anxiety, a behavioral symptom of HD, is characterized by:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Fidgeting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Rapid heart-rate
  • Repetitive thoughts about bothersome topics

For individuals with HD, continual life changes as HD progresses can be a source of anxiety. Some individuals become anxious about social engagements because they are embarrassed about visible symptoms, such as chorea.

However, physical brain changes caused by the disease itself may also cause excessive anxiety. As thought processes become less flexible, changes in routine can exacerbate anxious behavior.

Often, a calm, predictable environment can effectively minimize some behavioral symptoms.