The symptoms of Huntington’s disease vary widely between people. Even people in the same family may be affected differently.

Huntington's disease symptoms

The symptoms usually affect three main areas:

  • Movement - movements may happen that you don’t expect, while doing what you do want to do becomes more difficult
  • Cognition - difficulties with planning and thinking
  • Behaviour - changes in behaviour and personality


This is often referred to as chorea and is the most obvious symptom. Making involuntary movements while at the same time, having more difficulty with the movements you want to make such as doing up buttons.


This is the symptom that affects people most in daily life. Tasks may take longer or become harder, you may struggle to concentrate and become more forgetful. It becomes more difficult to learn new things and to make important decisions.


This symptom is the most difficult for the person and for family members. It may make you feel and behave differently and you may become more frustrated, irritable or angry.

Are my symptoms Huntington’s disease?

The time before a diagnosis is made can be very confusing and frightening. If you are experiencing symptoms or seeing someone you care about experiencing them, you may not be sure of what is happening or why.

Early signs you or your family may notice could include changes in personality; irritability; difficulty in learning new things or feeling clumsy. However these symptoms could happen for many other reasons.

Some people who know they are at risk of Huntington’s spend time searching for the first signs that they are developing the disease. They may worry about simple things like dropping a cup, forgetting a name or becoming unusually bad-tempered. Most people do these things occasionally - whether they are at risk from Huntington’s disease or not - so you or the person you care for could be worrying unnecessarily.

If you are concerned about Huntington’s disease, write down all your symptoms and talk to your GP, who may refer you to a specialist (usually a neurologist) for tests. These tests could include a number of simple checks and possibly a brain scan, to rule out other, similar conditions.