Tic Disorders: Treatment

Behavioral Therapy: The best-known behavioral treatment for tic disorders is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) called habit reversal training. A child is taught to recognize the premonitory urge that precedes an oncoming tic, and to identify the situations that may trigger the tics. The child and therapist develop a “competing” response—an action the child performs when he feels the urge—that is incompatible with the tic, and less noticeable to others. For example, a child whose tic involves sniffling his nose may do a breathing exercise instead. Children may also be taught relaxation techniques to decrease the frequency of the tics.

Pharmacological: There are a variety of medications commonly prescribed to help control the symptoms of tic disorder, and an experienced professional should closely monitor any course. Your child’s doctor may prescribe neuroleptic medications, which appear to help control tics by blocking the brain’s dopamine neurotransmitters.