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Cognitive BehaviourTherap (CBT) Effective in Tourette

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  • Cognitive BehaviourTherap (CBT) Effective in Tourette

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) May Treat Tourette Syndrome Tics As Effective As Or Even Superior To Medication
    Publication Date: March 2011

    The use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat tics in Tourette syndrome may be as effective as and even superior to medication in certain cases. According to a new study published in a special edition of the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy by researchers from the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital affiliated with Université de Montréal, it was observed that therapy has an effect not only on tics, behavior and thoughts, but also on brain activity.

    “This discovery could have major repercussions on the treatment of this illness. In some cases, the physiological measures could allow for the improvement of the therapy in order to tailor it to a specific type of patient,” states Dr. Marc Lavoie, certified researcher at Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and with the Psychiatry Department of Université de Montréal, who conducted this study with his PhD student Tina Imbriglio and his clinician collaborators, Dr. Kieron O’Connor, psychologist, and Dr. Emmanuel Stip, psychiatrist.

    Tourette syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics that worsen during childhood and reach a peak around the age of 11. The condition affects between 0.05 and three percent of children of school age and in certain cases, can persist into adulthood.

    The research team invited two groups to take part in the study:
    • One group of 10 adults affected by Tourette syndrome
    • Another group of 14 adults matched for age and intelligence with no neurological or psychiatric problems.

    The participants were asked to perform a series of experimental tasks to stimulate specific regions of the brain. During one task, the subjects had to respond to or inhibit their responses to traffic lights presented on a computer screen. An electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded in conjunction with each task. The patients were seen again six months later, after having received the therapy to perform the same test.

    The results showed a significant reduction of tics following the therapy. Moreover, it was possible to observe a quantifiable normalization of the brain activity linked to the improvement of the symptoms in patients with Tourette syndrome after behavioral treatment. The originality of the results of Dr. Marc Lavoie’s team lies in the discovery of a measurable cerebral change following these cognitive and behavioural changes in symptoms

    “On the one hand, therapy leads to cognitive restructuring, and on the other, to behavioral and physiological modifications. This promising study is the first to demonstrate the physiological effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients with Tourette syndrome. However, other studies will need to confirm these results using a larger sample,” added Dr. Lavoie.

    Reference / Abstract
    Lavoie, M.E., Imbriglio, T.V., Stip, E., O’Connor, K.P. (2011). “Neurocognitive changes following cognitive-behavioral treatment in the Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorder.” International Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. Special section: cognitive and neuroscientific approaches to obsessive-compulsive and related phenomena. (4)1, 34-50.
    TouretteLinks Forum

  • #2
    Re: Cognitive BehaviourTherap (CBT) Effective in Tourette

    Are there any studies like this for children? My son has become very aggressive and angry especially at me and m\y husband. He is taking medication for the TS as well as the ADHD. We are having a hard time telling if the agression is from the wrong medication or truly a behavioural issue.
    Hope to hear from someone soon!


    • #3
      Re: Cognitive BehaviourTherap (CBT) Effective in Tourette

      What medications has your son been prescribed?

      Has you son been evaluated for his aggressive behaviour by a mental health specialist, preferably someone with clinical experience with children with Tourette?

      That published study seems to confirm anecdotal reports of people learning to suppress some Tourette expressions (tics) by recognizing the onset of the tic (premonitory urge) to be able to either redirect thet tic energy or temporarily suppress the tic.

      My inderstanding is this study simply provides scientific credibility to what many have known from their own experience.

      A child psychologist, with an understanding of Tourette may be a helpful resouce for your son, with CBT.
      TouretteLinks Forum