Ivy Palmer - Care Advice & News

How to Solve Huntington’s Disease Behavioural Problems

Huntington’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder profoundly affecting physical coordination, emotional well-being, and cognitive abilities. 

As individuals navigate through these challenges, including associated Huntington’s disease personality change and Huntington’s disease behavioural problems, understanding and managing these symptoms is vital for improving the quality of life for those needing Huntington’s Disease Care

This guide seeks to provide patients, live-in carers, and medical practitioners with practical approaches to navigating these challenges effectively.

How does Huntington’s Disease Affect the Brain?

Huntington’s Disease (HD) causes a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, particularly targeting the basal ganglia, which is crucial for movement control. 

This damage leads to uncontrollable movements and significant challenges in physical coordination. 

Beyond motor control, Huntington’s profoundly impacts cognitive functions, manifesting as a decline in processing speed, problem-solving abilities, planning, and memory retention. 

The neurological degradation underpins the various behavioural changes observed in individuals with Huntington’s, which requires live-in care.

Most Common Behavioural Problems with Huntington’s Disease

As many explore the impacts, it reveals a range of Huntington’s disease behavioural challenges, each affecting patients in distinct ways and shaping their experiences with this complex condition.


elderly woman disorganisation

Disorganisation in Huntington’s Disease is marked by difficulties in managing daily activities and maintaining responsibilities. 

Cognitive decline disrupts the ability to sequence tasks and prioritise, leading to increased clutter, missed appointments, and uncompleted tasks. 

This challenge significantly affects personal and professional life, requiring patients and care to adapt and find new strategies for the organisation. 

Recognising and addressing disorganisation early can help in mitigating its impact on the quality of life.


Impulsivity in HD patients results from diminished impulse control, leading to spontaneous actions without consideration of potential consequences. 

This behavioural change can affect financial decisions, social interactions, and physical actions, posing risks to the individual’s safety and well-being. 

The impulsivity is linked to alterations in the brain’s frontal lobes, which govern judgment and self-control. 

Understanding and managing impulsivity through targeted interventions are crucial for minimising its adverse effects.

Frustration and Anger 

man with huntingtons angry

The progression of Huntington’s Disease often brings about significant frustration and anger due to the increasing difficulty in performing previously simple tasks. 

The emotional regulation challenges lead to quick frustration and subsequent outbursts of anger, affecting relationships and overall well-being. 

Addressing these emotions requires patience, understanding, and appropriate strategies to help individuals express and manage their feelings constructively. 

Recognising the source of these emotions as part of HD’s impact can foster empathy and support from carers and loved ones.


Denial is a common coping mechanism among individuals with HD, characterised by underestimating or attributing symptoms to other causes. 

This defence mechanism can hinder the acceptance of the condition and delay seeking necessary treatment and support. 

Overcoming denial involves gentle encouragement towards recognising the reality of the disease, and fostering a supportive environment for the patient to accept their diagnosis and participate actively in their care plan. 

Addressing denial is a delicate process, requiring understanding and empathy from carers and healthcare professionals.


man with huntingtons and depression

Depression frequently accompanies Huntington’s Disease, stemming from both the psychological burden and biological changes within the brain. 

Symptoms include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and social withdrawal. 

Recognising and treating depression is critical, with approaches encompassing medication, therapy, and strong support networks. 

Addressing the psychological health of HD patients is as vital as managing the physical symptoms, ensuring a comprehensive approach to care that enhances overall quality of life.


Anxiety disorders are notably prevalent among HD patients, with uncertainties about the disease’s progression fueling worry and fear. 

Generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and specific phobias can significantly impact daily life. 

Effective treatment strategies may include medication, counselling, and stress management techniques, aiming to reduce anxiety levels and improve coping mechanisms. 

Understanding and addressing anxiety within the context of HD requires a tailored approach that acknowledges the unique challenges posed by the disease.

Obsessive Behaviour 

huntingtons ocd

Obsessive-compulsive behaviours in HD, characterised by repetitive actions or intrusive thoughts, can significantly disrupt daily functioning and diminish quality of life. 

These behaviours are distressing for both patients and carers, necessitating a multidisciplinary approach to management, including medication and behavioural therapy. 

Recognising and addressing these behaviours as part of the broader spectrum of Huntington’s Disease is essential for developing effective coping strategies and support systems.

By adopting effective strategies and fostering a supportive environment, care and healthcare professionals can significantly enhance the well-being of those living with Huntington’s Disease. 

For further assistance and resources, contact us at IP Live-In Care today and we’ll be ready to talk through the help and support available through our care packages whatever challenges you may be facing, for a more independent way of living.