Aggression is commonly reported in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD). While correlating factors for aggression are often speculated about, features that are associated with, and contribute to, aggression in this population have not been clearly determined. This systematic review investigates rates of aggression and treatment options for aggression in HD. A number of key findings were revealed. Studies reporting on rates of aggression revealed that its prevalence is high, falling between 22 and 66 percent in the majority of studies. Aggression may be more common in males with HD, and is also found in higher rates in individuals who experience frequent falls, have obsessive-compulsive symptoms and suicidal ideation. There is little research investigating antecedents for aggression in HD. A wide variety of psychotropic medications have been reported in the literature to treat individuals with HD and aggressive behaviour. However, due to methodological limitations, no treatment recommendations can be made, based on the current literature. Two non-medication therapies have been investigated, behaviour support and sensory modulation intervention. However, again, due to methodological limitations with these studies, further research is needed before they can be recommended as frontline interventions. This review highlights the need for further methodologically rigorous studies investigating the treatment of aggression in HD.
Keywords: Aggression; Huntington's disease; prevalence; therapy; treatment.