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I am wondering if my friend might have Huntington's Disease.

She is 40-years-old, normal weight...
I am wondering if my friend might have Huntington's Disease. She is 40-years-old, normal weight, otherwise healthy, and married with no children. Her mother has HD. I flew out from MN this past weekend to see her in VA. I have known her for 20+ years and have never seen her house totally in disarray as it was this time. There were literally two huge piles of dirty clothes on the floor in front of their couch in the living room. Every surface--including end tables, etc.--was packed with stuff/junk. The laundry room was piled totally high with tons of dirty clothes--on the floor, everywhere! One day when I wanted to go to the beach (and we did go, with her driving), she couldn't even wear shorts (it was 97 degrees outside) because she said she didn't have any clean, but it didn't seem to bother her a bit. Her kitchen was messy, too. During the whole 3 nights, 4 days I was with her, she did not do any dishes, any washing of clothes (except one sheet the first night since she had forgotten to put a clean sheet on my bed in the guest room), or any cooking. We ate all our meals out, but she used to love to cook! ANYway, she also carried 3 purse bags with her wherever she went (one had her laptop) and misplaced her keys literally 6 or more times. Whenever we would get out of the car to go visit a museum or etc., she would spend at least 2-5 minutes fussing with her purses, putting some in the trunk, trying to find her keys, etc. Her husband--who has gained tons of weight and is now obese--just jokes with her to "wear her keys on her clothes." They haven't had a good marriage for some time; she totally controls him and picks on him if he tries to assert himself at all. Her house was also kept pretty dark, except for an overhead light. I tried to open some drapes one morning to let some sunshine in, but she soon closed them. I would feel depressed living in such a dark space! Although she used to eat normally, this time she stopped at a bakery and bought several sweet rolls and proceeded to eat them for at least 2 breakfast and lunches. I found some frozen waffles, a plum, and yogurt to have for breakfast, but she just had tea and picked on her sweet roll. Ironically, even though I saw her eat virtually no veggies or fruits during my stay, she is on lots of prescription vitamins/nutritional meds to help her body get the nutrition it needs to be able to conceive a child. Needless to say, I am very concerned about her. She doesn't seem to even care about these total changes in behavior. I did not notice any kind of chorea-type behaviors.
Thank you so much for a response! I don't know what to do--should I call and talk to her husband and mention that maybe she should be tested for HD? Or?
Cheryl in Maplewood, MN
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Answered in 1 minute by:
8/10/2010
Selah R, M.S. LPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
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Selah R, M.S. LPC :

Thank you for trusting JustAnswer with your important question.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

If you suspect Huntington's, then you should mention something to her and her spouse. Medical reasons (including thyroid issues, diabetes, hormones, etc) should always be ruled out in cases of significant depression or personality changes like you describe. And given the severity of what you describe it's possible that she has both a medical and a psychological issue going on at the same time.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

You need to approach her gently, from a caring and supportive place, not a critical place. Let her know you're worried about her, and you want to see her be healthy (especially if she's trying to have a baby too).

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

What I don't hear that we'd expect in Huntington's would be abnormal movements/tics and restlessness. But she could still have other medical issues causing or worsening the depression.

Selah R, M.S. LPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
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