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Fairy Chimneys

Treatment Options to Decrease Tics/Tourette Syndrome

The two evidence-based treatment options for tics are medications and Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT/CBIT). A treatment is determined to be "evidence-based" when it demonstrated significantly reduced tics in multiple research studies that met the high standards of the medical and scientific community. Neither medication nor HRT are cures for Tourette syndrome; both treatment options can reduce tics, but do not eliminate them completely. People vary in their response to medication and to behavioral treatment. That said, both treatment options have helped to greatly improve the lives of many individuals by reducing the interference and emotional distress resulting from tics.

Aside from medications and HRT, there are many purported treatments for Tourette syndrome. These include, dietary changes or supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathy, lifestyle changes, and many others. Unfortunately, there is a lack of scientific evidence for these treatment options. There are, however, plenty of testimonials that will praise various methods to reduce tics. As a psychologist who specializes in tic disorders and their treatment, I am not inclined to give my professional recommendation for these treatments. Knowing that tics have a tendency to increase and decrease over time all on their own (see Tics Over Time) makes it especially challenging to know if a treatment works. Oftentimes, individuals and families try a new treatment approach following a frustrating increase in tics. When tics are at a high point, they are likely to decrease soon.  When they do decrease, it is easy to conclude that the treatment worked, even if the tics were just following their natural cycle of waxing and waning. To actually determine if a treatment is successful, rigorous research studies are needed.  

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