105: Do you know if constant blinking / squinting can cause
damage to the eye? I have several tics but the most frequent is extreme
squinting and blinking. It has started giving me dizzy spells and
head aches. I'm worried that I'm going to cause some kind of damage
to my eyes ( or something else??) Thanks for any information you can
Dawn, TX, USA.
104: Dear Dr. Duncan, I am a mental health professional.
I read your story in the Reader's Digest of July 2004 and immediately
went to your website. It is a wonderful website and provides extremely
useful information. In am writing from Calcutta, India, and very little
information on TS is available here. The reason for my sending this
mail to you is the following:
two months ago, a 29 year old female was referred to me for psychotherapy.
She was reportedly suffering from OCD. The symptom was that she has
an irresistible urge to insert her finger in her right eye. She has
this symptom from age 12 and has been treated by the best psychiatrists
both in America and India. Nothing has helped her beyond temporary
relief. She also is on drugs for epileptic seizures which are controlled
now. The girl has lost sight in her right eye and has also damaged
her left eye. The symptoms decrease or increase in intensity from
time to time. She does this mostly in bathrooms or places where she
cannot be observed. She also has an urge to scream loudly and when
she does that her mouth becomes distorted. Somehow I became a bit
skeptical about the diagnosis of OCD. Her personality does not have
any perfectionist trend, the anxiety-reduction after completion of
the compulsive act is also not present. I am aware that it may not
be present in all cases.
a. Is it possible that the symptom this girl is suffering from is
TS and not OCD?
b. Could it in any way be related to her epileptic seizures?
before reading your story, in last week's session, I advised her to
be aware of her urge and immediately to do something which will make
her hands inactive, like putting her hands in a pair of gloves etc.
I would like to help. Any suggestion will be hightly appreciated.
With thanks in advance, PM.
92: Dear Dr. Duncan, I find myself somewhat amused at what
I am doing. I have known since the third grade what I was doing, but
didn't really come to realize until 5th or 6th grade I had tourettes.
I have always been excellent at hiding everything I do, even from
my family. I would always come up with excuses about my behaviour,
and I would often cry because they would tease me since they didn't
understand. Now, being 16, I have really started to accept what this
is, and reading more about tourette's. I have a nagging question,
however, and I really need the answer! I cannot find it anywhere;
not just on your site, but on the web. My question is this: does having
tourette's, in anyway, shorten your life expectansy or cause you to
die earlier then normal because it is a neurological disorder? Please
ligthen my load with this! I need to know. M.
90: My 9 year old son saw your interview on Montel
Williams' last year and became much more calm and accepting of his
TS . . . thanks. He didn't talk much about it, but you could tell
he was fascinated. Here's the problem! I can't find this anywhere
in your archives, so I don't know if this is TS or something else.
Handwriting. He's in 3rd grade. Very smart. He can write as neatly
as anyone sometimes. Then on some days, his handwriting is HORRIBLE.
(By this I mean printing, not necessarily even cursive writing.) He
almost never writes well for over 1 sentence long. It's as if he fatigues.
Poor fine motor skills I think. So, he has learned NOT to write anything
that's over a sentence or 2. He does just enough to make the B. (He
also can't tie a shoe or button a button.)
I have talked the school finally today into letting him use the alpha
smart (mini-computer) at his desk. I told them he'd never get better
at handwriting, because this year he's gotten worse, and it's all
because he needs to write more. So, is this related to TS? Will OT
work? Or what do I do? P.S., TX, USA.
82: Is there a form of TS with an
adult onset? I've been struggling with an
"adult onset tic disorder" for over
2 years now, both vocal and physical, quite
a repertoire. Never a day without it, often
dozens of events in a day. I won't go into
all the tests and specialists ....I'm a scientist
(biological microcopy) very much into leading
a balanced life and alternative medicine,
and have pretty much given up on websites,
doctors, any type of treatment -- conventional
or alternative -- this is just part of who
I am now. Anyway, do you think that information,
research, whatever, about TS can be relevant
to someone who, by definition, can't have
TS due to the age of onset? I also have a
more direct factual question: Can the tics
lead to other physical problems? My most common
and violent tic is a snapping of my head straight
backward. Often very vocal as well -- barking,
gasping. Now my shoulders are sore all the
time, diagnosed as "shoulder impingement
syndrome" could it be related to my tics?
Thanks in advance, G.M., ME., USA.
type of tic that isn't recognized is variations
in my speech. My voice gets louder without me
knowing it. I get "Quit yelling at me!"
when I don't mean to. I get asked if I am being
sacastic because of the tone I cann't hear.
I over enuciate and people think I am talking
down to them, this one I can catch sometimes.
Most complaints are that I am yelling and that
I am confrontational when I ask questions or
am having a discussion subject matter seems
irrelevant. I try to get opinions from others
but they seem to think I am being bitchy when
I do this....I have thought of video taping
everyday activities and conversations around
the house. Have you had any experiene with this
type of disorder? Ideas? Medication? Thanks
for listening to me. K.T., BC, CANADA
73: I am pretty convinced my 7 year son has Tourette Syndrome [and]
We do have an appointment with a Neurologist in February. In the mean
time, I am obsessed and wanting to make sense of all of my son's behavior.
There are times when he is out of contol, mainly being silly, not listening
and saying inappropriate things. This has been going on for years. Many
people have asked (or assumed) he had ADHD when he was in one of his
"silly moods." Of course, I think I am a horrible mother who
can not control my son. He does not have this problem at school (He
does vocal and motor tics at school). When I get really angry, he gets
very upset, almost surprised that I am mad. It's as if I didn't ask
him 100 times to stop the behavior. Is this associated with Tourettes.
Please let me know. Thanks; MM, MA, USA.
72: My 17 year old son was diagnosed with NLD two years ago and
has a certain behaviour that troubles me....[It] started ever since
he could sit up and he would take a shoe lace and flick it back and
forth in front of his eyes. From that point on Ryan would perform the
same action with other items....ie. straws, fishing line, string. Ryan
now has what he calls his "flicking shirt", a long sleeved
t shirt he wears with one sleeve pulled down over his hand in which
he holds a peice of fishing line and waves it in front of his eyes very
fast clapping his hands together. He does not do this in public but
I do notice him walking towards the car when I pick him up at school
and he will be snapping his fingers up almost at eye level with one
hand. I really would appreciate your thoughts on this "flicking"
behaviour. It is something Ryan must do every day. I've been an advocate
for Ryan ever since they told me in junior kindergarten that Ryan just
doesn't do what everyone else does and that something is amiss. Thank
you, J.M., ON, Canada.
66: Hello there my name is A., I'm a 17 yr. old student in Australia
who has recently been diagnosed with TS....It has been rumoured that
Mozart had tourette syndrome, I wonder could this have been the source
of his creative genius....What evidence is there, if any of a link between
TS and creativity?. The other question I want to ask you is, what is
a mental tic. Would echolalia be an example of a mental tic? Maybe all
mental illnesses are a form of tic disorder? A.A., Australia.
62: My question is this, my son is most often a very sweet and loving
child, and as you understand he has his moments that include the rages,
however I am wonder(ing) if TS has some effect on the ability to make
the choice between right and wrong. Some times the choices my son makes
are very poor even though I know he knows he shouldn't have made that
choice....I am worried because for the last eight months his choices
are for a lack of a better word ridiculously wrong and inappropriate,
I will also let you know he is on risperidol 1.5.mg per day and when
he goes to his fathers every other weekend he is not always getting
this medication, then when he gets home by Sunday evening he is a handful
and very very angry and hurtful to his siblings and me. Is it a possibility
that the constant interruption of medication causing this inability
to make good choices or does it have to due directly with his TS. S.H.,
59: Your answer to the TS-Rett's [i.e. is there a connection between
TS and Rett's Disorder] was possibly where I got a little intrigued.
When you say it belongs with the Autism/ Asperger's cluster, I thought
that those 2 disorders are related to TS because of some of the similarities.
We saw a video on Autism....and I was spellbound at how many qualities
related to Autism that I have, although nowhere near as strongly as
most Autistics do. I realize the fact that the 2 syndrome names are
close is just coincidental. G.B., ON, Canada.
42: My sister is 44 years old. She has exhibited TS symptoms for
decades....Most pronounced are her verbal tics. While never profane,
she has classic TS symptoms. On June 29, my sister was diagnosed with
a BRAIN TUMOUR, on her speech center, left parietal lobe. Since then,
her tics have become somewhat more frequent and the variety of verbal
tics has increased. M y main question: Have you ever seen a TS case
where the person has developed a tumour in the speech center? Is there
any correlation, in your opinion? Thank you for hearing me out. My sister....beyond
the tics is a kind, generous person. Blessings, H.G., ON, Canada.
32: I would like to know what the difference is between OCD and
mild Tourettes. What in the brain is happening, and how is it different.
My grandson has just been diagnosed with Tourettes, and I, the Grandma,
has OCD. Go figure! C.C., ON, Canada.
27: I was hopping you could clear up some confusion with me. Is
ADD/ADHD a LD? Or is LD's just common with ADD/ADHD? All the books I
am able to get my hand on to are vary out of date. And don't give good
information. On top of the fact I seen to live on a back hole for information
an TS, ADD, and the like. I was also wondering if you have any advice
on explaining to College instructors that a I have TS. That I am fine
and nothing will serious happen to me whale I am ticing. (I had some
problems at the end of the semester with caching a flue that made me
tic really bad and some instructors panicking. And I don't wish to repeat
it next semester.) R.J., CA, USA.
26: hey:) I saw your article in Macleans Magazine, and I was intrigued.
I am a 17 year old student who....has ADD, and actually, much like you
appreciating your TS, I like ADD...I mean honestly, imagine how boring
it would be not to be thinking of 10 things at once! Anyways, the reason
I am writing is because I was wondering how closely related ADD is to
TS and OCD. Through reading some of the articles on your site, I see
many simelarities. I guess I am basically curious about the differences
between the three because based on my understanding....very often people
diagnosed with ADD have, to some degree, obsessive-cumpulsive tendancies,
and very minor tics. Just Curious. K.A.B., ON, Canada.
25: My 4 year old son....currently has a diagnosis of impulsive-type
ADHD, OCD issues, and multiple verbal tics. My question is whether through
your research you have found any information on developmental language
disorders associated with TS as he also has this diagnosis....My favorite
of my son's vocal tics is, "Good steak," which I think came
from, "For goodness sake," but his language problems got in
the way! J.M., Nevada, USA.
18: Both my son J. and I suffer from insomnia--I'm probably worse
than him but he may get worse as he enters his teens. The only thing
I have found that helps is making sure I'm really calm (no stimulation)
before I go to sleep and I also take low dose (10-20 mg.) of Elavil
every evening. I recently started a new job and have found my insomnia
has intensified greatly. I just can't stop my mind from racing with
all the things I need to get done at work and elsewhere. I just tried
self-hypnosis with no success. Do you have any jewels of wisdom in regards
to insomnia. K.M., ON, Canada.
16: Hi. You were just in town talking to the kids at [my son's]
school.My son has o.c.d. and he is 12 yrs. old. I did not realise that
o.c.d. was a part of tics....I have been trying to tell the taechers
about [my son's behavioural problems] but it does not work. They think
I'm lying.Igot the doctor to sign a note saying he has it but it does
not help.He is getting into trouble for things he can not help.I would
like to know how to deal with the teachers?My son was very impressed
with you and really enjoyed listening to you. His friend at the school
has tics and him and her talk all the time about there problems, but
when you came to the school and spoke on this he has not stopped talking
about it.Thanks for coming to the school and talking to the kids.BYE.
M.M., ON, Canada
15: What I have read about add and TS is that the child has difficulty
learn and does not score well on test. That is not the case with Joe,
inspite of the problems he is very intelligent with a high IQ.
problems that [my son] is having at school we understand is not controllable,
but the school wants to force him to act and be held accountable like
the rest of the school. The problems that he had on the one day I talked
about were fueled by the actions of the school and now they have taken
away....part of [his] IEP along with a lot of other items that could
help Joe....The school is unwilling to try and work with him and is
labeled a trouble maker. We are working with an advocate and have filed
a case with the state department of education....We are frustrated....and
feel that Joe is being discriminated because of his problems which I
believe is illegal. But forcing someone to do something is usually not
the best way, we would like them to want to help.
would be helpful. R.M., OH, USA
14: What do you know about the Asthsma/coughing tic? [My son] has
had a horrible cough for the last week, was dx with asthsma long before
TS but am hearing things about it as a tic now. Matt has no weezing
currently (at the moment) but is constantly coughing and the inhaler
doesnt work. I know you're busy so I'll understand if you can't respond
and won't be upset. R.S., MO, USA
12: great website and great source for support! i was wanting to
ask a few questions....
exactly is the difference between a tic disorder and tourette's?
tourette's related to or a form of the disorder known as "chorea"?
what age did your tourette's appear? and how?
11: Thank-you Duncan for your response to my question
concerning our son's sleep disorder. You mentioned quite a few useful
things. I had wondered about behavior modification for TS. But the pediatric
neurologist that Chase our son sees says that there really is no way
to turn the motor off in Chase's brain so easily. I had mentioned to
the doctor the idea of getting an aquarium for our son's bedroom in
hopes to help relax him at bedtime. He said that we could try but not
to hang our hopes on it.
the sleep clinics familiar with treating a sleep disorder associated
with TS? [Our neurologist] has had to remind me of the physialogical
nature of this disorder on more than one occassion. Reminding me of
an actual problem with neurotransmitters and the tics not being emotionally
induced.....[Our neurologist] is also very conservative with the meds.
He doesn't want Chase treated for his tics unless he is hurting himself
or unable to be productive. And none of those have occurred so presently
he only takes something for bedtime. We too would like to keep him on
little meds as possible or none at all.
God Bless you and the ministry that you offer to us folks. You have
a gift. Don't give it up. Sincerely, S.H., Texas, USA.
10: Hi. [Our daughter] has been diagnosed with agoraphobia and we
are looking for some direction. Her family Dr. is a pill pusher but
admits meds would conflict with epileptic meds. I wonder if some type
of counselling is successful for this. What would an almost Dr. suggest
would be the most effective course of action. She is working with a
neurologist for her epilepsy. Jrvb, Ontario, CA.
9: I read your article and response to the question of meds. I found
it very informative. My question is: What about meds. for something
like a sleep disorder. The inability to sleep through the whole night
or not all on some nights. My husband and I are going through these
night wakenings with our 8 year old son. It just wouldn't seem to stop.
Our neurologist, a pediatric neurologist prescribed clonidine for him.
One quarter at first and now we are up to a half tablet. Have we seen
any benifits? I don't know. The frequency of the night wakenings has
lessened. But I find myself going to sleep at night praying that the
med. won't have an adverse affect on him while we are asleep and unable
to notice. Hope you can help us out? S.H., Texas, USA.
2: Dear Duncan, Do you know if there is a link between bedwetting
and TS?? Any info or websites answering this question would be appreciated?
R.V. California, USA