Vijendra K. Singh, Ph.D., was a research associate professor at Utah State University when he contributed this article. He has over 20 years of experience in neurobiology and immunology research, beginning at the Children’s Hospital […]
Tics and Tourettes: Prevention and Treatment
There’s a saying that genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger. Whether or not you have a family history of Tourette syndrome or related tic disorders, there are several approaches you can take to prevent and treat symptoms.
Doctors often tell people with Tourettes that there is nothing they can do to besides reducing stress: “The tics wax and wane—they come and go on their own.” Some even refer to the process as a “mystery.” Families are apparently expected to just sit back and watch the ups and downs take place. This attitude makes about as much sense as telling people with allergies that their symptoms will “wax and wane,” without explaining which allergens may affect a person’s symptoms.
Of course, doctors would tell their patients why vocal and muscle tics wax and wane—if they knew. But there has been an appalling lack of interest in the role of the environment by leaders in the field. In fact, for the last 18 years, our organization is the only group that has been vigorously exploring a range of factors that can aggravate tics, such as toxic exposures; food sensitivities and food allergy; heavy metals; nutrient imbalances; infection, allergens, and immune system issues.
Our book Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes: A Patient and Family Guide gives a comprehensive explanation of non-toxic prevention and treatment options with a review of behavioral approaches, acupuncture and biofeedback; hypnosis may also be helpful.
Families can learn more with our article Finding Triggers for Tics: A Must Read. An integrative physician can assist in determining underlying biological causes of symptoms. While the standard treatment for tics focuses on strong medications that many seek to avoid, ACN Latitudes offers valuable options to patients and families.
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