Psychologists and psychiatrists at Shier Private Practice in Scottsdale, AZ specializes in the treatment of Tourette’s disorder. Our private outpatient clinic offers a comprehensive psychiatric/medical assessment and treatment plan. Treatment may include medications, behavioral therapies or a combination of treatments.
Tourette’s disorder is a form of tic disorder in which individuals experience persistent motor or vocal tics. Tics are recurrent, involuntary, and nonrhythmic movements or vocalizations.Tic disorders encompass a group of neurodevelopmental conditions with childhood-onset. Tourette’s disorder is characterized by a combination of two or more motor tics and at least one vocal tic over the course of a year or more.
It is approximated that .3%-.6% of school age children have Tourette’s disorder. The average age of onset for TS is 3 to 8 years of age, with peak severity between 10 to 12 years of age.
The DSM-5 provides the following diagnostic criteria for Tourette’s disorder:
- Both or multiple motor and one or more vocal tics have been present at some time during the illness, although not necessarily concurrently.
- The tics may wax and wane in frequency but have persisted for more than 1 year since first tic onset.
- Onset is before the age of 18 years.
- The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.
While the specific cause of Tourette’s disorder is unknown, it is likely to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Tourette’s disorder has been linked to the basal ganglia region of the brain, which helps control body movement. It is likely that differences in this region may affect the chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses, otherwise known as neurotransmitters. Individuals who have family members with Tourette’s disorder are more likely to develop it themselves.
Tourette’s disorder is diagnosed through a thorough biopsychosocial psychiatric evaluation and medical assessment used to rule out other psychological and medical conditions that may present with similar symptomatology.
While there is no cure for Tourette’s disorder, there are several treatment methods that are aimed at controlling tics to prevent them from interfering with daily functioning. Medication and psychotherapy, or a combination of both, may be helpful in this sense. Currently, three medications are FDA-approved for the treatment of tics: haloperidol/Haldol, aripiprazole/Abilify and pimozide/Orap.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be effective in the treatment of tics. In the treatment of Tourette’s disorder, CBT focuses on habit-reversal, monitoring tics, identifying premonitory urges in order to move in ways that are incompatible with the tic. Other forms of psychotherapy may be beneficial in coping with the disorder and accompanying problems. In severe cases, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be helpful for tics that do not respond to other types of treatment.
Last update: February 25, 2019
The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.