Tics


What are Tics?

Tics are sudden or brief movements (motor tics) or sounds (vocal tics, also known as vocalizations or phonic tics). They are repetitive.  Motor tics can be simple, involving a single muscle group, or complex, involving sustained and/or coordinated movements. Vocal tics can also be brief or more sustained, sometimes with a few different vocalizations following one another.

Tics are ALWAYS absent during sleep.

Many children experience tics that last for a few weeks or a few months and often go away on their own. These patients do not have Tourette syndrome, which is characterized by multiple motor tics and vocalizations that last more than one year.

Cough Tic

Cough tic, also called habit cough, is a common vocal tic in children. The cough tic is commonly developed as an extension of some sort of respiratory infection and remains as a comforting behavior once the infection is gone.

Success Story: Medical Hypnosis for Cough Tic

15-year old Matt suffered from a recurrent coughing tic. After many unsuccessful medications and other treatments, Matt learned self-hypnosis from Dr. Jeffrey E. Lazarus in Palo Alto, CA. The video will show part of Matt’s first session with Dr. Lazarus, a follow up to how he uses self-hypnosis in his 4th session and a message from his mother.

Recurrent Cough Tic Causes

Often, the patient develops the throat-clearing behavior as a result of post-nasal drip or cough associated with a respiratory infection, such as a cold. Because the throat-clearing is comforting, the patient continues the behavior after the cold is gone. The patient forces a dry (unproductive) cough during the day, but the cough is absent while the child is asleep. Some parents report that the cough keeps the patient up at night, but on closer questioning, they realize that the cough is gone while the patient is actually asleep.

Most of these patients have tried medications that have not helped. They have undergone tests such as chest x-ray and sinus CT scan. They have seen sub-specialists including ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, allergists, and pulmonary (lung) specialists, and have been told that there is nothing wrong.

When Dr. Lazarus sees patients with tics, with our without Tourette syndrome, as long as there is no significant anxiety, depression, or obsessive compulsive behavior, there is usually significant improvement after only 2 or 3 visits!

Watch
Channel 5 KPIX/CBS news story

View

Tourette Syndrome Case Study: how one child was able to control his cough tic

Read
Los Angeles Times Article (PDF)

Read
JDBP Abstract (PDF): Nonpharmacological Treatment of Tics in Tourette Syndrome

Why Hypnosis for Tics?

The medications that are commonly used for tics often don’t work and have tremendous side effects.

These side effects include:

•    Sleepiness
•    Fainting
•    Slow heart rate
•    Weight gain

In addition, there is an insufficient number of randomized, double-blind trials comparing medication with placebo. And, there have been no studies comparing behavioral and pharmacological approaches.1

It is not known how these medications affect brain development.2

When Dr. Lazarus sees patients with tics, with our without Tourette syndrome, as long as there is no significant anxiety, depression, or obsessive compulsive behavior, there is usually significant improvement after only 2 or 3 visits!

References:

1.    Scahill, L. et al. April 2006. “Contemporary assessment and pharmacotherapy of Tourette syndrome.”. NeuroRx : the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 3 (2): 192–206.
2.    Roessner, V, et al.  “European clinical guidelines for Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders.” Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2011 April; 20(4): 153–154.