When my son was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at 4, I didn’t want to put him directly on meds. His tics were mild and simply didn’t warrant them. I was open to the idea of drugs should his symptoms become unmanageable, but until then, I wanted to do something… anything… to keep the throat clears, eye rolls and head nods to a minimum.
OK, who am I kidding? Like a bad high school boyfriend, I wanted those tics banished from my site forever. But to answer Doctor Phil’s question: “How’s that workin’ for ya?” I had to respond honestly, “Not so well. Time for plan B.”
I went through a lot of rumination and spent ginormous hours on the Internet researching sites, supplements and remedies that promised to end TS. Here are five things that actually really helped in my son Stink’s case.
As if it weren’t already obvious with my use of language such as “ginormous,” let me reiterate that I am not a doctor, so please run everything by a practitioner you trust should you follow any of this advice.
- Magnesium: I gave him 500 mg of magnesium a day, and it really helped with his eye rolls and vocals. For some little kids this might be too much, but I’ve been told the worst thing excess magnesium can do is cause diarrhea. Now my son takes a calcium/magnesium supplement as the magnesium is best absorbed with calcium. The ratio is double the calcium to the magnesium.
- Gluten Free: It was a pain, but it helped, and continues to help enormously. He can concentrate more and can fall asleep quickly. When he was not gluten free, it would take hours for him to settle down. He is still a high energy kid, but much less so now.
- Dairy Free: Ditto the gluten. It was a pain, but we’ve found many ways to supplement his calcium through rice milk, vegetables and fruit.
- Sleep: 10 hours of sleep a night is crucial and a huge tic reducer.
- No artificial flavors or preservatives: My son is very sensitive to chemicals. They can set tics off like bee around a honey pot. Not worth the sting of excess tics except on special occasions.
I am keeping this list short today and can get into more detail and recommendations if anyone is interested. For ways to begin your gluten free/casein free diet, feel free to check out this post.
What have been your experiences with tics? Did any of you find it made a difference for your children? What about in some of your cases where tics were more severe?