Hi, I have a 14 year old son who we were told was OCD in September. He has had tics for a couple of years, mainly simple motor tics, head and eye fluttering. He has had a couple of brief episodes of snorting and sniffing too so most likely has Tourette's. He is learning to manage the OCD with the help of CBT but when he does the tics are more prominent/frequent. They're really bothering him and says he just wants to take a pill to make them disappear. We have always said that medication would be our last resort. He is a witty, sporty, funny and I'm so proud of his attitude of not letting anything get in the way of what he wants - but I worry that the tics are starting to get him down and wonder if medication would help reduce them so that he could learn to manage them? Feeling conflicted.

9 Replies

  • It's a difficult question. My son has been on meds since he was 7. He has adhd,Tourette and OCD. He is 12 now and we are going to be changing meds. They have definitely helped my son but they are not a miracle cure far from it. Bear in mind once you go down the medication route it is hard to get out of it. As I say my son would not cope without it. If your son can find other ways ie relaxation, mindfulness and natural remedies I would recommend you try those first.

  • Thank you for replying, it's really helped. I feel as parents we're stuck between a rock and a hard place!

  • Just had a look on Tourette action newsletter. They are doing some research at Wolverhampton university. How to reduce tics, using therapeutic ways. This might interest you. I have just sent email asking for more information.

  • Thank you, I'll take a look too

  • I am a 64 year old man taking Xenazine. I lived until I was 59 without any meds; it's a pain (sometimes physically) but it's who I am and what I do.

    I take Xenazine now because I have injured my neck, from headshaking, and can't have surgery because of TS.

    The medicine is NOT easy! I now take an anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety drug, and 2 types of amphetamine to keep me going. Even so, I sleep 2-4 hours more per night.

    Worse, I have no ambition. I am a business owner/entrepreneur, but can barely run my business now. It's literally hell.

    Your 14 year old sounds old enough to understand the issues. Trust me, it's not a 'pill to make them disappear'. It is a total change of lifestyle. It is a decision to be made cautiously and with constant monitoring. And it can take 1-2 years to stabilize all of the side effects.

  • I think when you're 14 and you'd rather be playing football it's all too easy to want to take the 'easy route' - my gut feeling is as you advise, and to tread cautiously. If he can manage without them then he should for as long as possible. I think his OCD / Tourette's are mild compared to some and whilst I would never downplay the effect it has on him, it's my job to make sure we make the right choices for his long term health. Thank you, you really helped and I hope things get better for you.

  • Tourettes Action have lots of information about treatment for tics, including both education and behavioural therapy. Tourettes Action also has a list of therapists who provide behavioural therapy for managing tics. You can contact our help desk to be sent a copy: Here is the link to information from the TA website:

  • I first noticed my Daughters motor ticks when she was 18 months old and was first put on medication aged 12, as motor and vocal tricks had started to interfear with her qualty of life.

    Hers are anxiety driven, she swears and is very abusive with her comments.

    Shes an amazing young woman who has lots of complex issues and is on a cocktail of medication. If it wasn't for medication she would be in a secure unit and have no quality of life.

    She's 19 now and undergoing CBT, DBT and Mindfulness twice a week.

  • Hi. My name is Michael. I'm 40 now and have had Tourettes since I was 8. I'm managing it without drugs. Have been since I was 16. Some advice, cut down on sugar, caffeine, anything sweet. Those will trigger the ticks real fast. Him being active and a high spirted kid is great. Keep him active and cut out the sweets, sugar, and caffeine. It's the only way to get around the medication. Hope this helps.

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