I had tics as a kid, but they were never diagnosed at the time. My mother simply called them “nervous habits,” which she and her mother also had. But mine were complex tics, mostly involving my eyes and hands, and some were vocal. I later received a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome.
I’ve tried 14 psychiatric drugs. Some of these medications actually made the symptoms worse. I’ve also tried acupuncture and homeopathy but they only seemed to help me short-term.
Five years of torment
I reached a point recently in my thirties where, even with different medications, my tics were very bad for five years straight. They were tormenting me, and I really needed help. I finally found the book Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes by Sheila Rogers (DeMare). But, I made the “mistake” of starting my reading with the chapter on Triggers!
For those who haven’t seen it, Rogers’ organization did a large survey and published a list of many different things that people reported could trigger their tics. There were so many possibilities, because people are so different —from scented products to food additives to dust to chlorine! I immediately felt discouraged.
Joining the Forums to complain
I didn’t know where to start in looking at the triggers, I was so overwhelmed. So, I turned to the ACN Latitudes Forums to vent. I remember griping that I thought it was absurd that there were so many options to consider. Someone responded that what she thought was absurd was that doctors prescribe drugs for tics that can have terrible side effects, plus the drugs never got to the actual cause of the tics! She had a point. Many people helped me out, and the support I received on the forum allowed me to forge ahead and finish reading the book.
“In some people a single trigger can aggravate or set off tics, while for others several triggers may be present at the same time. Naturally, the level and duration of exposure to a trigger also makes a difference.” —Sheila Rogers DeMare
What a turnaround. By the time I finished Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes I was very encouraged. It was incredible. I could relate to so much of what was written.
My favorite section was the testimonials. It seemed that many families had reduced their tics by eliminating certain foods—whatever the person was most sensitive to; wheat and dairy were often mentioned. I had started the blood-type diet (Eat Right 4 Your Type) for health reasons just a few months before and noticed my tics had been reduced a little.
I now looked at my diet even more closely. I eliminated wheat, dairy, corn, and potatoes and tried to avoid caffeine.
I was thrilled to find that my tics subsided. I knew I was on the right path and soon was able to enjoy being tic-free.
Three years later
It has now been three years and I’m still tic-free as long as I eat “clean.” Too much stress, caffeine, and toxic foods will flare me up.
I’m doing so much better. I have come to realize that people will do just about anything to feel “well” except change what they eat. In my opinion, it’s truly the most difficult thing to change about a person. But it can also be the so important.
I would encourage each person with a tic disorder to have an open mind. Look at possible triggers. It is worth the effort to learn what could be aggravating your tics.
This was published anonymously at the writer’s request. The photo is a stock image.