PSYCHIATRIC ASPECTS OF HUNTINGTON DISEASE – CASE REPORTS
Background. Huntington disease occurrs rarely, it can be encountered not only by neurologists and psychiatrists but also by other medical practitioners. Its characteristic features are involuntary movements, cognitive disorders and gradual development of dementia. Diagnosis is given on the basis of these clinical features, positive familial anamnesis, with the laboratory exclusion of other neuropsychiatric diseases and with the help of neuroimaging methods (in particular NMR). The disease can be only confirmed by means of genetic analysis.
Patients and methods. In this article, four cases of patients with Huntington disease and diverse psychiatric disorders that were hospitalised at the psychiatric department of the Maribor General Hospital between October 2002 and March 2003 are described. All the patients fulfilled the valid criteria for the diagnosis of Huntington disease. However, they differed according to their accompanying psychiatric psychopathology, age and social problems.
Conclusions. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to different psychiatric symptoms and clinical manifestations of Huntington disease that are often misleading in the diagnostic process. In addition, exigency of early diagnostics, guidelines for referrals to genetic testing and psychiatric monitoring of these patients are emphasised.
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