advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Troubled by Tourette Syndrome?
My four-year-old son has just been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. It's moderate to severe. Are there any alternatives to traditional medications? What can I do naturally, and how can I find an expert in the field?
A
Answer (Published 4/2/2007)

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that consists of involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. It appears to have a genetic basis, although the condition may be related to complications of childbirth or strep-induced autoimmunity. Most cases are mild and don't require medication, which is only modestly useful anyway. By adulthood, tics diminish or disappear entirely in 85 percent of those affected.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Energy - If you are a parent or grandparent, you know that abundant energy is vital when it comes to keeping up with the kids. Certain supplements can help keep you energized, naturally - learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

I discussed your question with Sandy Newmark, M.D., a pediatrician here in Tucson who told me that when your son is a little older (six or seven), mind-body techniques may help him manage his TS. Although the presence of tics is biological, their intensity and frequency usually is stress-related. A specialist in clinical hypnosis, biofeedback or guided imagery may be able to teach him how to relieve the stress that can bring on the tics and to suppress tics for short periods, if necessary.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests that food sensitivities may worsen Tourette's symptoms, so it can be helpful to identify and eliminate any problematic foods. You might also try giving your son Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic floral essence that works well for stress and acute anxiety in kids. In addition, Dr. Newmark recommends omega-3 fatty acid supplements (which may improve neuronal function in the brain). He also suggests supplementing with inositol, a sugar-like compound that improves the functions of neurotransmitters. An internet search will give you information on its use in neuropsychiatric disorders. Inositol is readily available; dosage is based on a child's weight.

As parents, your role is to give your son self-confidence and coping skills. Even TS children with severe tics can lead successful lives if they have a strong support network of friends and family. Explain your son's condition to his playmates and their parents so they can understand and accept behavior that may seem odd.

Nearly half of children with TS have obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention-deficit disorder as well, either of which can lead to difficulty with concentration and behavior in school. When your son is ready for school, be sure that his teachers and the school staff understand his condition so that they can determine whether modifications can be made that might help your child succeed in the classroom. You can get educational materials, support, and leads to physicians in your area who treat Tourette patients via the Tourette Syndrome Association's Web site: www.tsa-usa.org

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here