Tourette and its co-morbid conditions: ADHD, OCD, Asperger’s

Photo taken of my kids at the beach in February. Yes, February. Apparently life exists outside of electronics and it is possible to go screen free and maybe, with any luck, reduce tics. Wish me luck.

In my last post, I talked about my son’s big UCLA Tourette Syndrome follow-up appointment. The doctor took a lot of time with both of us, and the overall consensus was that, yes, Stink has some attention issues. Stink tics mildly to moderately. The doc doesn’t feel Stink needs meds for his tics since he’s not being affected socially or academically.

That all said, meds are not out of the question. We have the option of having Stink tested for free at UCLA for an actual diagnosis of something other than TS — be it ADHD, high-functioning Asperger’s or what-not.

If Stink qualifies for Asperger’s, he can start an eight-week trial through UCLA where they will put him on Intuniv and monitor his blood pressure/reaction on a weekly basis. Of course, this is a blind trial, so Stink might just get a placebo, which means we’re driving in two-hour traffic each way for a sugar pill which is kind of not really on my gluten-free/casein-free/food dye free/eat-everything-that-tastes-like-butt diet.

There’s also the issue of Stink’s blood pressure, which tends to be 85/55. With Intuniv’s side affects being to lower blood pressure, I’m taking a chance that Stink will faint, black out or perhaps just not get up easily in the morning.

The idea of Stink not rising at the crack of dawn on weekends to indulge in his favorite guilty pleasure, the Wii, is appealing, but mind-altering drugs is not really the route I want to go if given a choice. Here are my big beefs with this issue, in no particular order (but with organic big beef, if possible, please!):

  1. I am not against meds if they are needed. I take some for anxiety myself.
  2. I am not in denial about my kid’s issues, hence my cooperation with the IEP, taking him to a counselor last year, seeking out a UCLA specialist. That said …
  3. I don’t feel, in my gut, we have done everything we need to do to avoid meds. He was doing fine before we went down to one acupuncture session/week. He was also doing better before we started in on the Wii and that damned Mario.

There is sooooooooo much research out there about Dopamine flooding our kids’ brains. This Dopamine can cause tics. It can cause the Executive Function portion of their brain to get fuzzy. They lose impulse control. They show signs of ADHD. They obsess over games.

Before I get my kid labeled as a high-functioning autistic kid (and no problem if that’s the case)… and before I get him diagnosed as ADHD… or OCD… why not take out the one thing that is triggering all this stuff in him as well as add back in acupuncture?

I really, in my heart of hearts, don’t think he has this Asperger’s. I think he has tendencies toward obsession and the electronics needs to go.

Tell me, readership, would you take away the Wii before going down drug highway? Do any of you feel like we are over labeling our kids? If we are not overlabeling our kids, do you believe that perhaps they would not have some of these labels if we just took them off the media overload/processed food/instant gratification rat wheel that we now call modern childhood?

Who thinks I’m on the right track? Who thinks I’m living in La La land? (And I’m not talking about living in L.A., which I do, which is an insane place to try to avoid media. There is some irony in that.)

More on this next week. Meanwhile, you can find me writing almost daily at www.happilytickedoff.com.



  1. I have an 18 year old who has a diagnosis of Aspergers ADHD & Tourettes. Most of his life seems to revolve around gaming. But I have noticed his Tourettes and moods are significantly worse when he spends long periods of time on his Wii. Throw away the drugs they do not help, but also throw out the Wii. I am sure things will improve. Sadly my life is beyond redemption.

  2. My 10 yr old son has TS since he was 4 years old. He is mild and not currently medicated. (we tried for about 3 months, but stopped because of side effects and my “gutt” never wanted to medicate from the get go.) I agree with you, why not try anything you can before medicating. I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but I want to try the gluten free (CF) diet…it’s just the “where do I start” that goes through my head. He is obsessed with Wii as well. (It comes and goes, just like tics) It was taken away yesterday as a punishment~for behavior issues with his younger sister. I don’t see a major difference when it’s taken away. It’s more of the obsession with playing that’s an issue. Plus he is more likely to play nice with his sister because he “has nothing else to do”.

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