Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition which causes involuntary motor tics and vocal tics. Tics, the primary symptom of this syndrome, are quick, habitual, non-rhythmic, spasmodic contractions/movements of muscles or vocalization that occur repeatedly and are not caused by any other disease or drug abuse. Motor tics observed as a part of the syndrome include nose twitching, eye blinking, head shaking, shrugging of shoulders, and touching/ smelling objects. Homeopathy remedies for motor tics include medicines like Agaricus Muscaris. Vocal tics, on the other hand, include actions like throat clearing, grunting, sniffing, saying obscene words and repeating a word or phrase. Homeopathy remedies for vocal tics include medicines like Stramonium. Some tics are preceded by an uncomfortable sensation known as a premonitory urge. These sensations include itching, tingling, a build-up of tension, etc. that gets released once a particular movement or sound has been actively made. Homeopathic Remedies for Tourette’s Syndrome help reduce the severity and occurrence of the symptoms while treating the condition on a long-term basis.
Tics can be suppressed for a while but cannot be contained; the patient needs to express them eventually. The intensity of these tics varies from mild to severe and may become worse with factors like stress, anxiety, and fatigue. In some cases, headache and muscle strain or soreness may also occur along with the tics. Their occurrence follows a waning and waxing pattern and the type, frequency and severity tend to vary from person to person. The tics tend to be worse during the early teens and improve towards late teens.
Homeopathic Remedies for Tourette’s Syndrome
1. Agaricus Muscaris – For Tourette’s Syndrome with Motor Tics
Twitching and trembling are the main indicative features that indicate the use of Agaricus, a top remedy for motor tics. It is used in cases where there are marked motor tics like eye twitching, facial twitching, shaking of legs, jerking of the head, etc. The twitching typically stops during sleep. There is a trembling sensation in the lips and the lower jaw area. Twitching of hands gets better while doing manual work. The child tends to have quick and hurried movements of the upper limbs. There may be jerking motions of legs. It is a homeopathic treatment for twitching and is recommended to cure tics in kids who are hyperactive and clumsy without any fear of danger.
Key indications for using Agaricus Muscaris in Tourette’s Syndrome
- Twitching and hurried movement
- Trembling of the lower jaw area
- Hyperactivity and clumsiness
2. Stramonium – For Tourette’s Syndrome with Vocal Tics
Stramonium is a medicine used to treat frequent vocal tics where the child tends to babble all the time. Irrelevant and endless talking, stammering, and spasmodic dysphonia (hoarseness of voice) are some symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine. Along with vocal tics, this medicine also works on muscles used for locomotion. Motor tics like twitching of hands, clapping hands overhead, shutting and an opening of hands also indicate the need for this medicine.
Key indications for using Stramonium
- Frequent vocal tics (like babbling)
- Hoarseness of voice
- Use of hands indicating motor tics
3. Hyoscyamus Niger – For Tourette’s Syndrome – Tics
Hyoscyamus Nigera is a medicine used in cases where the tics are in the form of facial grimaces, touching things, rubbing genitalia, and making obscene gestures. The child can think but is not able to answer questions appropriately. Muttering of absurd things to and a constant unintelligible chattering along with a desire to be naked are the main symptoms indicating the need for this medicine. The child may also show irrelevant and frequent outbursts of laughter.
Key indications for using Hyoscyamus Niger in Tourette’s Syndrome
- Unintelligible Chattering
4. Zincum Metallicum – For Tourette’s Syndrome with Fidgeting
Zincum Metallicum is a medicine that plays an essential role in muscle control and coordination. Fidgeting of lower extremities, a restlessness of legs, keeping feet in constant motion, jerking of the body, and trembling of hands while writing are the symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine. Zincum is also used to treat Echolalia, where the child repeats everything said to him. It is also used to treat spasmodic twitching of the face, rolling of the head, and grinding of teeth.
Key indications to use Zincum Metallicum in Tourette’s Syndrome
- Grinding Teeth
5. Argentum Nitricum – For Tics due to Anxiety
Argentum is a medicine used to treat cases where the tics are typically worse when a person experiences anxiety. The medicine eases anxiousness and nervousness in kids and is helpful in cases where there is a loss of voluntary control of muscles, and trembling of body parts. Trembling of hands that makes writing difficult, trembling of legs and balance issues, unsteady walking when unobserved and impulsiveness in children are some symptoms. An extreme desire for sweets may also be present.
Key indications for using Argentum Nitricum in Tourette’s Syndrome
- Tics worse during anxiety
- Trembling of hands and legs
- Desire for sweets
Management of Tourette’s Syndrome
Therapies to Manage Uncontrollable Tics
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This can help an individual identify the factors that trigger the tics. This can also be helpful for individuals who have difficulty with learning and socializing.
2. Habit Reversal Training: This therapy includes activities which help an individual reverse the action of the tics. For example, a person may choose to smile when a tic to frown is triggered.
Supplements to use for Tourette’s Syndrome
Magnesium: Magnesium as an element works well for the central nervous system and improves the function of the muscular system. Low levels of magnesium also make an individual vulnerable to anxiety and depression (both are common triggering factors for tics). Therefore, a diet rich in magnesium can help manage Tourette’s syndrome.
A diet rich in omega fatty acids and vitamin B12 can also help control both motor and vocal tics in children.
Foods to Avoid in Tourette’s Syndrome
Avoiding food items one is allergic to can be of great help. Avoiding dairy products, especially if there is a sensitivity towards milk and dairy products can help reduce the recurrence of tics. The protein ‘casein’ found in milk and dairy products is found to be the main culprit for an increase in the occurrence of these tics. A casein-free diet can help control the tics.
Similarly, a gluten-free diet has also shown to reduce the motor tics and behavior issues associated with Tourette’s syndrome.
Lifestyle Management for Tourette’s Syndrome
Exercise or indulging in relaxing activities (Yoga, meditation, etc.) can help soothe the child and reduce the intensity and frequency of tics. Environment and allergens play an important role in triggering tics. These should be identified and avoided as far as possible.
Types of TICS Disorders
As per the DSM – 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classification of the tics disorders is as follows:
- Tourette Syndrome
- Persistent motor or vocal disorder
- Provisional tics disorder
- Other specified or unspecified tics disorder
Diagnostic Criteria for Tourette Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is diagnosed on the basis of three factors:
- Presence of motor or vocal tics
- Duration of tics
- Age of onset
- An absence of any other cause which can cause tics (any drug/substance/medical condition)
Tourette’s Syndrome is diagnosed through specific criteria.
There should be multiple motor tics (two or more than two motor tics) and at least one vocal tic. These both may happen at the same time or occur individually. The intensity and frequency of these tics can vary. But for a diagnosis, they should be present for at least one year. Another important factor for diagnosis is the age. The tics must be onset before the age of 18 years, and they most commonly occur between the age group of 4-6 years.
In a persistent motor or vocal disorder, or chronic tics disorder, there is a presence of either motor tics or vocal tics (single or multiple, there can be a presence of one or more than one motor or vocal tics). But unlike Tourette’s, there will be either of the tics present, not both vocal or motor tics. Again, the duration of symptoms has to be at least one year, and the age of onset should be before 18 years.
Under provisional tics disorder, there can be single or multiple, vocal or motor tics, or both. But, here the duration of tics lasts less than one year. The age of onset has to be less than 18 years.
Causes of Tourette’s Syndrome
The underlying causes of Tourette syndrome are still unknown. However, it is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors tend to play a role here. A child with a family history of Tourette syndrome or any other tic-related disorder is at an increased risk of developing the syndrome. In general, it affects more males than females.
Conditions associated with Tourette’s Syndrome:
- Sleep disorders
- Learning disabilities
Tourette’s Syndrome: Symptoms
Tics are the most common symptoms observed in Tourette’s. There can be motor tics, vocal tics or both. The tics are usually worse during the period of anxiety, excitement, sleeplessness or exhaustion. There can be a feeling specific feeling preceding the actual tic like the sensation of itching.
There are major two types of tics – simple or complex.
Simple tics are shorter in duration and may last for milliseconds.
Examples of simple motor tics include:
- Eye Blinking
- Eye darting
- Head jerking
- Twitching of lips
- Facial Grimacing
- Shoulder shrugging
- Neck jerking
Examples of simple vocal tics:
- Throat Clearing
Complex tics usually last longer in duration, generally for more than a second. These can be a combination of two or more simple tics.
Examples of complex motor tics include:
- Touching the nose
- Touching people
- Head shaking
- Echopraxia (Involuntary repetition of another person’s action)
Examples of complex vocal tics include:
- Involuntary Swearing
- Palilalia(Repeating own words/phrases
- Echolalia (Repeating others sentences)
- Speaking obscene words or phrases