Behaviour therapy could help Tourette’s sufferers control their embarrassing tics
After training 38 per cent of sufferers had much improved compared to just six per cent of the control group
Tourette’s sufferers could learn to control their tics by focusing their minds, a study has found.
They could manage their embarrassing and sometimes inappropriate tics using behaviour therapy by learning to recognise their onset, it says.
The neurological condition causes people to make repeated, jerky movements or grunting or coughing sounds.
t times, the tics may be more complex, such as cursing or moving around, and can be agony for the sufferer.
Medications such as antipsychotics are sometimes used to quell the symptoms. Unfortunately, they often come with serious side effects such as sedation, movement problems or weight gain.
Now researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have found a new effective therapy.
Study author Sabine Wilhelm, said: ‘It is something that has created a lot of excitement in the field, because now we can finally treat neurological disorders with psychological interventions.’
The study tested a new kind of therapy called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT, which grew out of an earlier behavioral technique.
Wilhelm explained that it focuses on creating awareness of oncoming tics and their triggers, so that people have a chance of controlling them before it’s too late.
CBIT also teaches people to counteract the tic in subtle ways, for instance by balling up their fists if they feel compelled ‘to give someone the finger.’