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teenager with motor and vocal tics

(9 Posts)
NeedCoffeeToFunction Sat 09-May-15 21:20:46

My 15 year old son has had tics since he was about 4. They range from blinking, coughing, legs twitching etc. The tics seem to change every few weeks and he hasn't been tic free for years. He had a CAMHS referral when he was about 7 and they suggested relaxation techniques.These had limited success and he's gradually stopped doing them. Recently they have got a lot worse- he's upstairs now and all I can hear is repeated "hmm". We try not to make a big deal of them and he says "they're part of me so people need to accept that" Whilst I am proud he feels that way, I wish we could help him to stop. I fully accept the problem may be more mine and I just need to relax about it all. I wish he would accept help as I think teenage years can be difficult as it is. I was considering taking him back to the GP for some updated advice as it is years since we have seen anyone about it. I would love to hear from others in a similar situation and would be grateful for any advice.

ChampagneAndCrisps Wed 13-May-15 20:25:50

I think you're right to go back to your GP, and I would request re referral. Adolescent services will be different to child

I doubt you'll get him to actually stop ticcing - because that's not really possible. But there may be psychological or medical help available to him.

It does sound like he may have Tourette's syndrome, and it would be good to see if the tics can be improved. I am glad he accepts himself as he is.

Tourettes action or Tourettes Scotland may also be helpful.

anthropology Tue 16-Jun-15 10:52:26

My DD also has a diagnosed tic disorder and had tics from about 4. She was also just told to learn to love her tics At 15, she really struggled with depression/anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I now understand that there is a potential link with tic disorders, ocd and depression so just keep an eye on him, if he seems ok with himself I agree try not to stress him more. Some people have some success with magnesium(Natural Calm) and my DD takes Calms valerian tablets. I hope you can get more help, but sadly we didnt find any support, or anyone that would see her, despite how difficult life got. Now she is over 18 there appears no support at all so if you can find some now, do.

NeedCoffeeToFunction Tue 16-Jun-15 13:32:49

Thanks for the replies. We have actually just started him on magnesium as somebody else had recommended that too. We'll see how that goes. It just feels frustrating to try and get him the help he deserves. He seems happy in himself - well, as happy as 15 year old boys can be! I'm just hoping that he wont find the extra pressure at school this year too much so we'll have to be extra vigilant. Thanks again for your replies, it helps to know that we are not on our own.

ChampagneAndCrisps Wed 17-Jun-15 21:18:44

Mine are on medication which does help reduce the ticcing - it doesn't go away - but they manage life better. They're both on Risperidone for ticcing. My DD is also on Ritalin for ADD, and my son is on Prozac for obsessionality. Both the latter drugs have also reduced their ticcing because thet reduce her impulsivity and the obsessive element to his tics.
I agree it's difficult to get decent help. We're seen at CAMHS, and it's taken a long time to get to a decent point in their management. It'll probably change again.
My DS also enjoys the drums - which he says feels a good release.

I find it such a difficult illness to live with because so few people have any understanding or sympathy. But the kids are doing ok just now, and that's a lot to be grateful for

NeedCoffeeToFunction Wed 17-Jun-15 22:42:16

thanks, can I ask you how long it took to get the medication? we are waiting for another referral to CAMHS but it seems to be taking forever. My son loves outdoor activities like climbing and hiking and is definitely better when he has been active. Tonight has been a "bad " night as he had homework to complete -year 10 so no getting away from it! He has been very jumpy and is now trying to get to sleep whilst making very loud humming noises. Let's hope he feels calmer tomorrow. thanks again, I really appreciate people taking the time to reply.

ChampagneAndCrisps Wed 17-Jun-15 23:24:10

Tourettes started very suddenly and severely in both my affected kids. It wasn't long before they were started on medication because life wasn't possible without meds. It's taken a long time to optimise the dose of their meds because the Doctors are rightly reluctant to use the drugs if they can manage without them.

It's a risk benefit decision because of the possible side effects of the drugs. My daughter was on Aripriprazole for a while - but had constant side effects. Risperidone seems fine for both of them.

Anxiety can be part of Tourettes.
They'll tic more when their anxious. Trying to engage their brain in something else - a hobby of some sort - will maybe interrupt the ticcing. But that's easier said than done.
My DD gets really irrational when she can't stop ticcing. DS is good at going off to play his drums when he needs to - but he's not as irrational as his sister either

If the ticcing is really interfering with his life and happiness they'll be more likely to start meds. Theyre attitude to tics does affect their self esteem. My DS finds his illness interesting and he doesn't seem to find it as hard to cope. My DD is still struggling to accept what she sees as being a very ugly illness as being her. Sorry - it's late now - probably rambling!

ChampagneAndCrisps Wed 17-Jun-15 23:31:09

Just re read your last post. Mine have tried relaxation tapes, mindfulness - that sort of thing. I think distraction is important.

I read Nick Van Bloss's autobiography a while ago - a world famous pianist who has it - helped understand what it feels like. Also good to research people who have it but have still succeeded - Tim Howard ( Everton? Goalie )

NeedCoffeeToFunction Wed 17-Jun-15 23:52:22

thanks, the relaxation tapes are a good idea. He has tried other ways to relax but finds it difficult to focus for long enough for it to have any real effect. It's gone quiet from upstairs so hopefully he's asleep. thanks again.

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