Tourette’s syndrome is a difficult disease for a person to live with because they have little to no control over tics or outbursts. The most common of signs of Tourette’s is tics or twitches, which are often seen as sporadic and unexpected quick movements of the face, although the hands are also commonly affected. However, most people with Tourette’s syndrome will tell you that the vocal outbursts are the most distressing aspect of this disorder.
An individual with Tourette’s syndrome might be sitting in the classroom, the boardroom, or out shopping in public when uncontrolled cursing begins. This sudden eruption of language, which the person has no control over, is embarrassing to them and mortifying to people hearing the outburst. For this reason, some people with Tourette’s will simply stay locked up at home, which then leads to other problems such as depression.
While the exact cause of Tourette’s syndrome is still a mystery, most medical doctors and scientists believe it has to do with a breakdown of signals in the brain that control concentration and emotion. Because the criteria used for diagnosing this disease is so strict, most people believe that Tourette’s is a rare condition, but in truth, this is a relatively common disorder.
Because of the social inhibition that can result from living with Tourette’s syndrome, and how Tourette’s can lead to so much misery for the sufferer, a tremendous amount of research has gone into treatments and therapies for the disorder. One therapy that has been receiving a significant amount of attention is neurofeedback therapy. Clinical studies show great potential for the effectiveness of this intervention, which trains the patient to control brain wave frequencies, which in turn, may control and even stop the symptoms.
Interestingly, it has been discovered through this in-depth research that other conditions are often associated with Tourette’s syndrome, including attention deficit disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, hypersexuality, and other highly addictive behaviors. This new information provides even more reasons why neurofeedback appears to be a highly effective means of stopping and controlling the various symptoms of Tourette’s.
The tics of this disease usually respond quickly and favorably to neurofeedback. Another challenge is that with so many symptoms, Tourette’s requires a highly trained therapist that can determine the appropriate protocol for patients.
Therefore, therapists will identify the most troubling symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome on a patient-by-patient basis and begin the neurofeedback training there first, and then slowly move on to address additional problems. Because of this, addressing Tourette’s syndrome with neurofeedback may require more diligence and time than some other conditions, but with a determined patient and a skilled therapist, the possibilities are exciting.
Keep in mind, it is common for a Tourette’s syndrome patient to remain on medication while going through neurofeedback therapy, as the individual begins to get symptoms under control, the level of pharmaceutical management would likely decrease. If you have this disease or know of someone who does, it would be worth talking to your mental health professional about the possibilities associated with neurofeedback. For a person with Tourette’s syndrome, it could mean getting his or her life back without living in fear of doing or saying something inappropriate.