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So worried, daughter has tics


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Here comes an other update.  I started following tics on an excellent sheet that helps me figure out progress of tics and when they emerge and when they get out of the picture.  At the very

I personally think that hyper activity is an other form of a ‘tic’ , an urge to do something, so might be considered part of the spectrum. That’s my personal opinion yet prof I chatted on the topic ag

Hi,  We are doing ok, we still have 3-4 tics with wax and wane. In the long run we think we are in a descending trend.  Please do not consider me an authority. I am just an other worried par

Hi @mert

Hope you are doing well. How is your daughter doing? Here comes an update and few follow-up questions. 

I see that my daughter's throat clearing and breath out from mouth tics are mostly gone. She still does heavy breathout from nose followed by 'hhmmm' and hands pulling towards her. Frequency remained the same, its just that the tics are different. 

I am still waiting for Dr to order food allergies, PANS/PANDAS and vitamin deficiency tests. Socially my daughter is doing ok but I can sense that she is under tremendous stress knowing people are observing her. Few things I did from last time:

  • Started Gymnastics class for her, I am afraid I will need to take her off soon due to COVID lockdown in California.   
  • Less gluten, less sugar, less diary and eggs.
  • Less screen time, this is hard due to online schooling and online homework.
  • At least 9 hours of sleep.
  • Started following tics on an excel sheet as you suggested.
  • Pediatric psychologist did one session so far her anxiety and taught deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises. 

These questions remain: 

  • Read somewhere that high mercury levels may be the cause, we eat fish and eggs often. Do you think I should get my daughter tested for Mercury levels? 
  • Does diet really play a role? I know its not easy to answer, I am asking since restricting her favorite foods are causing more stress and anxiety. 
  • Read about mold and its relation to onset of tics, I did a mold test in my daughter's room and found small traces. Could that be the culprit? 
  • Found a naturopathic Dr who is going to charge a lot of money and run some tests while Neurologist is asking us to wait and watch. I am afraid of drawing too much attention to tics in the process of these tests. Should I wait and see if tics get resolved (its been almost 2 months since tics started) or do you think going to Naturopathy is a good idea?
  • Can hand jerking/pulling towards chest be not tics but a different movement disorder? 

I have been re-reading your comments on this thread again and again looking for clues, mapping the timelines, what to expect etc. Thank you for the knowledge you are sharing in this process. 

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Hi, 

We are doing ok, we still have 3-4 tics with wax and wane. In the long run we think we are in a descending trend. 

Please do not consider me an authority. I am just an other worried parent. 

Unfortunately there are way too many unknowns about tic (and related) disorders. There are very few researches that focus on underlaying reason for tics and why some get better and others don't. Luckily there are now, some researches on the topic like EMTICS and some other I pointed out in other posts.  

I try to stick with evidence based treatment strategies but this does not mean that others methods can not work. Tics wax and wayne and expected trend from onset is downwards. This makes 'isolating' the effects of supplemental vitamins/diatery changes and other things very hard. 

We try to follow a healthy diet with no MC Donals or smilar stuff. We tried 'gluten free' diet for a while and also a 'milk' free one. It was quite hard for us. At the end we gave up but still limit 'milk' as our doctor told us that he does not think these have any relations with tics but reducing milk is considered healthy anyway and won't make harm. 

I am not knowledgable on mercury poisoning enough to comment on it. Mold is unhealthy and so there is no harm getting rid of it. I use dehumidifiers time to time to prevent mold as I am practically living on an island. 

For the naturopathic DR, I only believe in evidence based medicine/treatment , if the DR can point to some research results about why he is making the tests etc, I'd check , otherwise skip. But that's me. 

I know how 2 months feels like multiple years under stress, been there. I remember that I lost 20 lbs in the first 3 months very rapidly. However when it comes to tics, it's a very short period. 

Can some movements be other things then tics? Yes, they can be. Some hyperkinetic movements can easily be misdiagnosed as tics. (or there is a type of seizure which often looks like a tic.) Here is a paper on the topic you may find interesting. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9613740/

Also compulsions, impulse behaviors etc can be misdiagnosed as tics too (does not like your case though) , you can read an old paper on the topic here, a google search may find newer ones. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656307/

I believe in the thesis that Tics, OCD, Hyperactivity etc.. are different manifestations of the same underlaying condition. 

I also read that tics being elastic is considered a good thing, on the other hand I think it's actually the norm. Tics keep changing, usually in 6-12 week periods. But some stick longer, some stick shorter some come and go changing a bit every time. 

While not useful much, I also observed that sensory physical stimulation does trigger tics. As an example, using googles at the pool, after some period of time would start triggering 'eye' related tics. Teeth development (new teeth coming etc..) can trigger tics around jaw. 

I believe relieving anxiety and supporting self esteem should be the focus. I support her to gain new skills as much as possible to up her self esteem. We had the same issue with gymnastics and continued online. Not 100% effective but 80% was ok. She got quite strong so she does not feel under stress when physically challenged. 

Btw you are as important as your kid and you also need to find ways to keep your anxiety levels low and manageable. It will build up and it can result in behavior that will result in increased anxiety in the child. (been there , done that) 

Keep on updating us 

PS: Intensity of the movement (speed, extension, strength behind) etc is also a good measure like frequency and can give you insight on the trend. I think we've seen noticeable decline after 4-5 months or a bit more. 

best regards

Mertol 

 

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Thank you for the detailed response @mert. It is so good to have someone who is going thru similar issue weigh in on various topics. I appreciate your insights and your opinion on prognosis being mostly on descending trend in the long run. I really hope that's the case for my daughter. I understand you are no Dr but sometimes parents are much more knowledgeable than Doctors. 

It is indeed very frustrating to see how little research is being done in this area. The nature of the issue, frequency and the age group demands more and more research, intervention and prevention from medical community. I also believe in science and evidence based treatment. I will continue to work with the pediatric neurologist to seek answers for my questions. 

Thank you for your caring advise to take care of myself to be able to support my daughter. I did broke down many times in the last few weeks. It was not helping the situation and was I was making an adverse impact. I immediately reached out for help, I am awaiting stress/anxiety management session to be scheduled for myself. I think parents going thru this shouldn't hesitate to seek help for themselves, then only we can better support the kids.     
 

I want to share that I started using homemade coconut milk as an alternative to milk in smoothies. You may want to try since coconut is supposed to be really good for memory and brain functioning.

As you suggested, I will continue to do what I can to support my daughter keep building her self-esteem, create less stressful env and help her develop new skills. I hope parents reading this comment will do so as well. 

Thank you again. 

Edited by Mommymom
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