What are the treatment options for Tourette's syndrome (TS)?

Most people with TS are not significantly impaired by their symptoms and therefore do not require treatment with medication.

However, several medications are available to control TS symptoms that interfere with functioning. Except in more severe cases when tics are sometimes painful, the main reasons for medication are to improve appearance and lessen embarrassing social interactions.

As with all medications, there are possible side effects that should be monitored carefully by the physician.

Patients should always be included in the decision to take medication, as they are the best judge of how disruptive the symptoms are to them.

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help the person with TS cope with his or her condition. Often, people make fun of a person with TS. Parents of children with TS also may find it difficult to cope with their child's behavior. When people with TS are diagnosed correctly and treated for the condition early, they can learn to cope with their disorder and accept that they are ok and normal.

In severe cases of TS that do not respond to medical treatment, a brain surgery, known as deep brain stimulation or DBS may be considered to improve symptoms. DBS involves placing tiny electrodes into the brain to help control TS symptoms. DBS can reduce 30-50% of tics in most patients.

Is psychological treatment helpful for Tourette's syndrome (TS)?

Psychological counseling can help parents learn to provide an appropriate environment for the child, especially for homework completion. Psychological counseling may also help children and their families deal more effectively with the social and emotional aspects of TS. Counseling can be an important part of treatment and should not be overlooked.

Relaxation and biofeedback methods may also be helpful to help people with TS reduce stress, which helps reduce tics and other symptoms.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/06/2015.

References

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke. Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet. Accessed 6/1/2020.
  • Tourette Association of America. What is Tourette. Accessed 6/1/2020.
  • Centers for Disease Control. Learn About Tourette Syndrome. Accessed 6/1/2020.
  • NHS. Tourette's syndrome. Accessed 6/1/2020.
  • Bitsko RH, Holbrook JR, Visser SN, Mink JW, Zinner SH, Ghandour RM, Blumberg SJ. A national profile of Tourette syndrome, 2011-2012. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2014 Jun;35(5):317-22.
  • Williams NR and Okun MS. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) at the interface of neurology and psychiatry. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2013;123(11):4546–4556.

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