Carriers of the FMR1 premutation (with 55-200 CGG repeats) may present with multiple medical and psychiatric disorders. Middle-aged carriers (males more often than females) may suffer from fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). FXTAS is a newly discovered neurodegenerative disease characterized by intention tremor and ataxia, along with several other neurological features. Psychiatric manifestations are common in premutation carriers of both genders and include attention deficits, anxiety, depression, irritability, impulse dyscontrol, and substance abuse or dependence. Major depressive disorder, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and specific phobia are among the psychiatric diagnoses often encountered in premutation carriers, including those with FXTAS. Later in the course of the illness, cognitive deficits (including dementia) may occur. In this paper, we discuss common psychiatric phenotypes in FXTAS, based on a thorough review of the literature, as well as our own research experience. Symptomatic pharmacologic treatments are available, although disease modifying agents have not yet been developed.
Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, FXTAS, FMR1 premutation, Psychiatric disorders, Substance abuse