Tourettes Action
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Bipolar linked to Tourette's ?

My 9 yr old son was diganoised with Tourette's 4 years ago, over the last year however he has been developing other issues which I cant seem to get and advice or help on from camhs. He is moody, aggressive, very low self esteem and sometimes sudicial. After speaking to his gp we r thinking he may be bipolar and I am awaiting an appointment with the camhs team which luckily my gp is going to attend with me. Is this something that is often linked to Tourette's or is it a different issue? I can't seem to find any info. Thanks in advance x

9 Replies

HI Emie

I am sorry to say that these are very common side effects of TS. I am obviously not a Dr and so would hesitate to challenge your GP, but the symptoms you describe are all part of many people's TS. As you have such a supportive GP I wonder if he would refer you a TS specialist? There are many who specialise in children and of course they are probably well placed to make a diagnosis of BiPolar as well.

If you would like a copy of our consultants list please contact Tourettes Action on 0300 777 8427


Suz - thanks for answering james is under a ts specialist but they diganoised him 4 years ago and don't seem to care about other symptoms which are showing theselves now. They seem happy that james has been labelled and disregarding the other issues he is struggling with, I'd be chuffed if it is only ts but I need these other issues addressed. Does that make sense?


There are quite a few adults who have bi-polar as well as TS, but for kids to be diagnosed in the uk with bi-polar in the uk is rare as it is a serious psyciatric condition. However the vast majority of kids (and adults) with TS also have ADHD and OCD and some of the characteristics of ADHD can be severe mood swings. The edges between the TS, the ADHD and OCD can be very blurred and us people with TS are quite complicated. In fact it's actually very difficult for adults to get a disagnosis of bi-polar and this disgnosis often follows a serious event (like hospitalisation) and a history of both very low periods and manic periods. For example this bi-polar issue has been going on for a while from my late teens/uni, I'm now 38, where some think I am ( and medicated me as such, which has kept me out of some mischeif) and others not.


Thanks Catherine I appreciate the info, I'm kinda working blind here you know? I have been told ADHD and OCD are often linked to ts but from the info I've read james doesn't seem to have either of those. I get confused


Hi Emie

I have just read the posts above and think it might be useful for you to attend a support group to talk to other mums and adult with TS. Or if there isnt one close to you, you may find our online Forum helpful - lots of people on their with experience of TS ready to answer your questions. Email me about groups etc


Thanks I have managed to find a group we r going to our first meeting in a fortnight, I would welcome any help and advice x



Catherine is right - I work for a GP, I've never seen anyone younger than 18 diagnosed as bipolar. There is so much overlap with TS/ADHD/OCD & other neurodevelopmental disorders, throw in a testosterone surge or two as he approaches puberty & you're going to get some major mood swings.

The low self-esteem seems to be part of having TS - we struggle to convince our son (now 14) of how much he has to offer, he believes the negative far more readily.

Our own experience of local camhs isn't encouraging, but you may be better served. If not, ask to see a specialist unit. Our son was finally assessed properly last year at the Michael Rutter Centre (Maudsley Hospital) after years of failing to meet the criteria for local camhs. Before then he had rage attacks, panic attacks, expressed thoughts that he'd be better off dead - all the sorts of things you describe. He was also getting bullied at school. Your son could well be as frustrated/frightened/angry.

His mood has improved no end since (a) having CBT for the OCD, (b) having some very frank discussions with his school regarding the difficulties he has & they put a stop to other boys mimicking his tics, (c) having an assessment with experts (he was so used to doctors saying 'I don't know much about Tourettes') and (d) attending a TS group at GOSH run by a clinical psychologist for a group of other children his sort of age with TS+.

Finally - your GP is attending the out-patient appt with you?! What a gem!!

best of luck.


Having TS is tough going so anybody is bound to get down. I got very down as a kid myself with TS, just that feeling of being the odd one out and freakish, I was also bullied in school. It's a struggle also to try and keep up as both the tics, ocd and adhd can make keeping up tough going thus effecting your esteem, not to mention trying to be popular.

The support group that I co-ordinate in the West Midlands is for all ages, our members range from 7 to 60 the kids have made some great friends amougnst themselves as have us adults.


James is very lucky with his friends and school they are extremely supportive. I have found a group for him we r going in a fortnight hopefully that will help him. Thanks for the advice everyone I really appreciate it


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