alternative therapies tic disorders

Exploring Alternative Treatments for Tic Disorders and Tourette’s Syndrome

Tic disorders like Tourette’s syndrome can be frustrating to live with. While conventional treatments like medication or deep brain stimulation can help manage tics, many people are interested in alternative therapies as well. In this post, we’ll explore some of the top alternative therapies for tic disorders and how they may be used as part of an integrated treatment plan.

Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral intervention (CBIT) uses competing response training to teach people with tics to replace their unwanted tics with less disruptive movements. For example, someone who jerks their neck may be taught to move a finger instead when they feel the urge to tic.

CBIT requires significant time and dedication, with therapy sessions multiple times per week. It can be effective for older children and adults but may be too demanding for young children. Studies show CBIT works best when combined with other therapies.

Acupuncture as an Alternative Treatment for Tics

Acupuncture aims to balance energy meridians in the body by placing thin needles along specific points. Sessions are very relaxing and can calm the nervous system. While acupuncture alone doesn’t make tics go away, it can be an excellent complementary therapy when used with other treatments

Nutritional and Herbal Therapies

Dietary changes and nutritional supplements tailored to an individual can help reduce tic severity for some people. Testing for food sensitivities, gut health issues, genetic mutations affecting nutrients, and other factors allows for personalized nutrition plans. Certain herbs and botanicals may also help relieve tics.

As with any therapy, nutritional changes alone are usually not enough. But used in combination with other approaches, they can have a significant positive impact.

Mind-Body Schemes 

Mindset and stress play a huge role in tic disorders. Practices like meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and positive thinking can calm the nervous system, change brain wave patterns, and help both kids and adults manage tics. Guided meditations are available to help kids get started.

Occupational Therapy

For people with sensory processing or coordination issues contributing to tics, occupational therapy can provide coping strategies and lifestyle adaptations. However, it generally focuses more on managing tics rather than resolving underlying causes.

Other Complementary Alternative Treatment Options

Biofeedback, chiropractic adjustments, and homeopathy may provide temporary tic relief for some but lack robust evidence. The risk with homeopathy is that it can interfere with other treatments.

Overall, there is no one “magic bullet” for tic disorders. The most comprehensive approach combines testing to understand root causes, diet and nutrition changes, stress and lifestyle adaptations, maybe medications, and other therapies to address the whole person. Over time, with diligence, major improvements are possible.

The key is working with providers versed in integrative and alternative therapies who can help develop a tailored protocol. With patience and commitment to the process, tic disorders can be overcome or effectively managed long-term in many cases.

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