1 in 4 people with Huntington’s Disease will attempt suicide

One of life’s greatest stumbling blocks is to continue living, when the mind turns against the desire to live, the calamity caused by that obstacle has left people believing suicide was their only option. The decision a person makes to take their own life, viewed incomprehensible by some leaves family and loved ones posed with the question of, why?
Often times the reasoning behind the act of suicide goes Unknown. It is claimed that ninety percent of individuals that commit suicide had a mental disorder at the time. (Drusst and Pincus.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3790459/#R15

Suicide rates are highest in Huntington’s Disease when compared to other  Neurodegenerative Diseases 

I think people who commit suicide had the belief that they were losing some kind of battle; life in that particular moment was just unmanageable, and though I don’t agree with that as a reason for someone to end their life , I can definitely understand it, especially for the people fighting Huntington’s Disease.

Suicide 7-200 times higher in people with Huntington’s Disease HSG

I’ve said I would not write about my personal battles on this blog, but on this occasion I will. I grew up my whole life knowing I could possibly inherit the HD gene, however I lived in such embarrassment, denial, and arrogance that I believed I was bigger than Huntington’s. that the odds were more in my  favor I ignorantly thought.

After many late nights of balancing on one foot, walking straight lines, and freaking out over every twitch, tingle, and spasm. every second of the day analyzed late at night. I wanted to know if my glass was half full or half empty.

The answer was revealed in a five minuet phone conversation ( not proper protocol for genetic testing of HD) my doctor confirmed I carried the HD gene. In the moments after the conversation I visually saw every building block of my life come crashing down. Every dream and hope that made up ambition were stomped out.

Right there in that moment, My future was destined to be full of nothing, so what was the point. Why should I work towards accomplishing any goals  if I was just going to lose control of my body, If my mind was going to  no longer be in control. Why? Why work so hard to achieve only to later be erased. I was suddenly overwhelmed by  emotions to the extreme, I was angry, sad, embarrassed,  I felt dirty like I was infectious. All those emotions made me feel weak as a result I wanted to inflict physical pain on someone, so they could feel my emotional pain. I regretted taking the test my life seemed so much easier when I didn’t know.

 

50% of gene positive individuals experience suicidal thoughts.

25% of gene positive individuals will make one suicide attempt.

10% of individuals with Huntington’s Disease commit suicide.

http://hdreach.org/for-families/understanding-behavior/suicide/

The Huntington’s Study Group identifies two critical points of suicide risk in HD.

  1. Before a formal diagnosis of HD is made.
  2. When independence becomes diminished.

In retrospect a big part of myself did die when I received the HD test results,however, I didn’t commit suicide, I  had a life changing event that caused me to believe all hope was lost, I think that’s  what leads people to commit suicide  in general. What I found alarming is the commonalities of symptoms in Huntington’s Disease and the symptoms of a suicidal individual. In fact they are so similar I would lose track of  which one I was reading about.

The CDC claims the leading Causes of Suicide are depression and anxiety. The occurrence of depression in an individual with Huntington’s Disease is estimated to increase 9- to-44 percent.

To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.

Symptoms of a Suicidal Individual:

  • Indecisiveness/lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Fatigue/loss energy
  • Desperation
  • Weight loss
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Social withdrawal

 

symptoms of Huntington’s Disease: 

  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight loss
  •  Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness and desperation.
  • Emotional outburst

Suicide is a preventable cause of premature death in HD. Obviously not every individual with HD will experience suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide, but with the similar symptoms it may be difficult for family and friends to distinguish who’s experiencing Suicidal ideation, and who’s experiencing symptoms of Huntington’s Disease.

2 thoughts on “HD: Symptoms, Suicide, and the Blurred Lines

  1. I worry about this with my daughter every day of my life.. and now they she moved so far away and doesn’t contact me much worries me even more. She went thru depression n anxiety she diagnosed at 18. She’s been on antidepressants since.. she is 24 now. She ran out of meds and Will not go see a Dr in Philly… I’ll never know how she’s feeling at this point. She shut me out once she moved..idk why? I didn’t know it was 1 in 4, for attempts…wow, so sad.

    Like

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