Huntington's disease and its association with psychopathology

Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2000 Jan-Feb;7(5):278-89. doi: 10.1093/hrp/7.5.278.


We review several aspects of Huntington's disease (HD), with a special focus on the psychopathological manifestations often identified in patients with this disorder. We discuss the evidence for a higher-than-average prevalence of psychosis, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in individuals with HD or at risk for the illness and analyze the possible significance of these findings. Particular emphasis is placed on OCD, in view of the neuroanatomical impairment that this condition shares with HD, the symptomatic similarities between these disorders, and recent findings of an excess of OCD in HD-affected families. We hypothesize that precise characterization of the psychiatric status of some HD patients showing psychopathological manifestations and their families might help to distinguish different clinical subtypes of the disorder. This approach could hold promise in improving the management of HD in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / complications*
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / etiology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / complications*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology