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Tourette's syndrome
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Tourette's syndrome
Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM

Movement Disorders

 

Treatment Of Tourette Syndrome

Additional information, publications and films can be obtained from:

Tourette Syndrome Association
42-40 Bell Boulevard
Bayside, New York 11361

 

The decision about whether to treat and, if so, what form the treatment should take, will depend on the degree to which the tics or TS is interfering with the child's normal development or the adult patient's ability to function productively. When treating a child, the primary emphasis must be on helping the youngster to navigate the normal developmental tasks - to feel competent in school, develop friendships, experience trust in his or her parents, and enjoy life's adventures. Many children with multiple tics and TS do well in moving onward with their lives. For them, treatment to ameliorate the tics generally is not indicated. Natural parental upset about the tics requires lengthy, calm discussion and education about available treatments. If treatment is decided upon by the child, family, and physician, developmental issues must constantly be reassessed.

There are several approaches to treatment.

Monitoring

Unless there is a state of emergency, the clinician usually can follow a patient for several months before a specific treatment plan is organized. The goals of the first stage of treatment are to establish a baseline of symptoms; define associated difficulties in school, family, and peer relationships; obtain necessary medical tests; and monitor, through check lists and interviews, the range and fluctuations in symptoms and the specific contexts of greatest difficulties; and establish a relationship.

Reassurance

It may become apparent that the child's tics are of minimal functional significance. Even if a youngster satisfies the criteria for TS, no treatment may be necessary because of good peer relations, school achievement, and self image. If parents have read about TS, they may be worried about the child's future. In the majority of cases, the severity of TS becomes apparent within two to three years of its first appearance. For milder cases, we tend to tell families that while their child can be diagnosed as having TS, it is not the same severity as they might hear about in relation to TS, and that "in the old times" their child probably would have been called simply "a nervous child." We also explain to families that, in many instances, TS symptoms are spontaneously ameliorated in the late teens. However, families deserve to know about the clearly emerging knowledge of genetic factors even if they are assured about the nature of their child's disorder.

Treatment of adult TS patients requires much of the same kind of reassurance and education. A well informed patient is much better able to make a wise decision about the need for drugs and to be cooperative in adjusting the dosage if medication is decided upon.

Tourette's syndrome > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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