Huntington's Disease in a Patient Misdiagnosed as Conversion Disorder

Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018 Feb 18;2018:3915657. doi: 10.1155/2018/3915657. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited, progressive, and neurodegenerative neuropsychiatric disorder caused by the expansion of cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) trinucleotide in Interested Transcript (IT) 15 gene on chromosome 4. This pathology typically presents in individuals aged between 30 and 50 years and the age of onset is inversely correlated with the length of the CAG repeat expansion. It is characterized by chorea, cognitive deficits, and psychiatric symptoms. Usually the psychiatric disorders precede motor and cognitive impairment, Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders being the most common presentations. We present a clinical case of a 65-year-old woman admitted to our Psychiatric Acute Unit. During the 6 years preceding the admission, the patient had clinical assessments made several times by different specialties that focused only on isolated symptoms, disregarding the syndrome as a whole. In the course of her last admission, the patient was referred to our Neuropsychiatric Team, which made the provisional diagnosis of late-onset Huntington's disease, later confirmed by genetic testing. This clinical vignette highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to atypical clinical presentations and raises awareness for the relevance of investigating carefully motor symptoms in psychiatric patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports