Non-pharmacologic Treatment of Tics in Tourette Syndrome – A Preliminary Study

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Investigators Name
Singer, Harvey, MD

The current treatment for children with TS who require tic suppression is medication. Although prescribed drugs are effective in suppressing tics, side effects sometimes limit the usefulness of this approach. In order to avoid use of drugs, investigators are constantly seeking alternative therapies for tic suppression. Behavioral therapy, especially relaxation training, has been shown to be effective in individual cases, but has not yet been rigorously evaluated. The primary goal of this study is to investigate, in a double-blind controlled fashion, the value of relaxation training as a therapeutic modality for tics in TS children. Subjects will be randomized into one of two treatment groups: relaxation training and “minimal” treatment. Subjects in both groups will be seen approximately once a week for the first 8 weeks and then for a follow-up session one month later. Specific questions to be addressed include whether relaxation training can reduce tic frequency and severity, and if so, whether the effects of treatment vary over time. We also plan to study whether the effectiveness of relaxation training is altered by the presence of ADHD or OCD, or is dependent on the severity of tics before treatment. Although physicians and parents would like to avoid the use of medications when possible, if relaxation training is to be recommended as a valuable therapeutic modality, then its long term benefit must be confirmed in controlled studies. Harvey Singer, M.D., H. Richard Waranch, M.D., Ph.D. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD Award $25,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1992