Latimer: Behavioural treatment for Tourette’s

Rare in cases of Tourette syndrome does a patient display symptoms as they're portrayed in books or movies.

The trademark vocal and physical tics of Tourette syndrome come quickly to mind when this condition is mentioned.

When characterized in movies or books, the person with Tourette’s is usually shown yelling out involuntary obscenities in embarrassing public situations.

In rare cases Tourette syndrome does manifest this way, but the symptoms can range from fairly minor distractions to very disruptive interruptions in regular functioning.

Tourette’s is a neuropsychiatric disorder that typically begins in childhood and includes multiple physical tics as well as at least one vocal tic.  Many youth with this condition eventually outgrow their tics, but some do not.

For those whose tics continue into adulthood, antipsychotic medications can be helpful in minimizing the symptoms, but these can result in undesirable side effects.

This is why the results of a study out of Harvard Medical School are so encouraging.

The study examined a therapy known as comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT) and found it effective.

CBIT involves several strategies to help patients minimize their tic symptoms.

Training patients to be aware of their tics and find ways to counter them with different behaviours.

For the study, published in the August 2012 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, 122 adults with Tourette tics were split into two groups.

One group received eight sessions of CBIT while the other received a different supportive treatment.

Tic symptoms were evaluated at the study start, halfway through and again at the end.

Participants who received CBIT therapy experienced significantly greater decreases in their tic severity during the study than those who did not receive CBIT.

More than one-third had improved or very much improved compared with only six per cent of those who did not receive the CBIT therapy.

An earlier study of this form of therapy in children showed even better results and researchers believe this is because adults experiencing Tourette tics are dealing with a more chronic case of the condition that is likely more difficult to treat.

More research is planned to gain a more complete understanding as to why this promising treatment is effective, but it is certainly good news to find that there is an available treatment that can offer good results to adults still experiencing Tourette symptoms.

The surprising thing about his development is that these treatment techniques are not new.

They have been applied to other behavioural habits for at least three decades.

Tourette’s has always been regarded as something neurological and therefore beyond the reach of behavioural techniques. Apparently this is not the case.

If you’d like to see more details about this study, you can find them at www.

Just Posted

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

YMCA launches teen program for mental health

Starting April 5, the Kelowna Family Y will host its first run of Mind Fit

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Captain Cal Foote is Rockets’ MVP

The Rockets hand out their annual team awards Sunday at Kelowna Community Theatre

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read