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Constant licking???

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  • Constant licking???

    Was just wondering if licking could be a tic? My son constantly lics his shoulders, every few min. He also has to lick the tips of his fingers. I watch him, when he tries to do anything with his hands he licks the tips of them, he often struggles b/c he fumbles with whatever he is doing b/c the need for licking them takes over??? Does this sound like anything someone else has gone thru?

  • #2
    Re: Constant licking???

    In my teen years, during high school, I had a licking compulsion, to lick my hands, in retrospect, probably because of dry skin and need for moisturizing with an effective hand creme.

    I noticed you mentioned "you watch him" do this. The context of your watching is unclear from your remark, but you should know that drawing attention to any of these behaviours, like watching, commenting, or otherwise making an issue can increase your son'd anxiety and could actually exacerbate the behaviour.

    This would certainly be something to discuss with his doctor, and perhaps proactively provide him with a good quality hand creme such as one containing 10% urea (over the counter) if available in your area.

    Additionally it might be a good time to discuss with your son the importance of proper hand hygiene, where hands coming in contact with mouth, eyes and nose introduce serious forms of infection into his system.
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      Re: Constant licking???

      How old is your son?
      My son had this also. It was it's worst at age 9 - 10. He is 11 yrs now. We went and did some CBT. It helped alot and he now does not do this anymore.

      The technique they used in CBT was to purposely get his hands dirty outside touching everything that would be visibly dirty. The actual dirt so he can see and feel the dirt on his hands. Then he has to sit down and look at the dirt on his hands and do not lick his hands. After 15 min. the anxiety of having dirt on his hands will naturally come down, and then he can go wash his hands. Do this once a week until he can go out in public and wait until he can get home and wash his hands without licking.

      My son now will smell his hands to see if they are dirty but at least he doesn't lick them and put the dirt directly into his body.


      • #4
        Re: Constant licking???


        My son also went through and is still going through a "licking phase". It was worse last year, when his anxiety was at its worse. It broke my heart to see him licking things, such as, his hands, tables, windows etc. it seemed as though he would lick e everything in his path. At first, I would draw a lot of attention to it , by telling him to stop, but quickly learned that it made it worse. He would only lick more. From time to time now, I see him licking his hands etc... , but I try to ignore it. His psychiatrist said it was probably a transient tic, but could also be an OCD habit. There is such a fine line between the two, that it was and still is unclear. In any case, it did subside and the incidences of licking are few and far between now. I believe it was a transient tic, that may or may not return. Shortly after, he also started spitting,( with his tongue). The doctor said he felt this was a tic.
        In any case, I empathize with you, and know its hard, but it will hopefully go away (or at least lessen), as in my sons case. When my sons anxiety is at its worse, these things tend to re surface. Especially after a long day at school.
        All the best to you and your son.


        • #5
          Re: Constant licking???

          Thanks. Its soo hard to watch my son. I often wonder if it interferes with his school. His teacher hasnt mentioned anything. But we do have a big team meeting coming up, so I guess I will find out.


          • #6
            Re: Constant licking???

            I know! It is really hard and we found it pretty diffult emotionally too! Not to mention our worry about germs etc.... My son didn't do it as much at school, but his teachers did notice a few times. He seemed to do it at home more, or when he was with us. I think he let out a lot of his anxiety by doing so at home, after a long day of holding his "tics" and " compulsions". I really don't even think he noticed he was doing half the time. He's only 5. How old is your son? Just know your not alone. I have heard a few parents mentioning this as an issue with their children as well.


            • #7
              Re: Constant licking???

              My little man is 6. Its so hard to see him as the shell of the little boy he used to be. He has so much anger, anxiety. He at times seem awfully depressed. He does not enjoy life at all. It scares me. I just dont know what I can do for him. The doctors here say he is very complex and we are having a hard time finding meds that work. Hes been on so many in the last 2 yrs. Nothing seems tto work, if it does its onlly for a short time. I imagine the "+" of his Tourettes has alot to do with it. We are at a total loss


              • #8
                Re: Constant licking???

                Well,my heart certainly goes out to you. The grieving process for parents can go on for quite some time, especially with Tourettes and its accompanying disorders. They are ever changing.
                If you don't mind me asking, where do you live? Is there a support group meeting in your city/town. I discovered the Tourettes Foundation when I was actively searching for a support group. I felt pretty alone and needed someone or a group to talk to. It has been a really great experience and I have learned so much from other parents who are dealing with the same issues.
                The second question I have, is have you ever had your son tested for allergies, specifically food allergies such as, gluten, wheat, milk protein? I know this forum has had some discussion on the topic, but I can relate personally. We have avoided the medication route so far. I should say that I would never judge or discourage anyone who has put their child on meds, because we do what we need to do. Our son is not at a stage where medication has been recommended, so we decided that we would try vitamins and supplements as well as elimination diets. He is off gluten, wheat and dairy right now and I have to say it has helped immensely. When I think back, I should have done it years ago. Within the first week of being off these foods, his teacher sent a note home about what an amazing week he had at school. They had no idea we had been trying this. In any case, it is not a cure by any means, but it has helped in a few key areas. If your interested in hearing more, I can tell you what we've been doing and how its helped.
                Otherwise, we have found that our son has a sleep disorder now. His lack of sleep often is the cause of many of his moments of rage and frustration it seems. We keep chugging a long and doing our best to keep sane, although, it is not easy.
                When you were describing your son, it reminded me of a woman in my support group whose son had the exact same issues as yours. Her story about taking him off gluten and milk proteins changed me. Within two days her son had noticeable improvements. There is something to be said about this "gut and brain" response. At least I believe it now!!!


                • #9
                  Re: Constant licking???

                  We live in Saskatchewan. I have thought about going gluten free, but he doesnt eat much at all now.


                  • #10
                    Re: Constant licking???

                    We went completely organic and added the probiotics. It has really helped. Also don't use the soaps w/ perfumes or laundry detergents or fabric softners. I use 7th generation for laundry and dish cleaning. You can use baking soda or distilled vinegar to clean your clothes. No scented candles or room sprays.
                    I would really recommend the probiotics, stay away from sugar and artificial food dyes and processed foods w/preservatives. Also, tooth paste, we use baking soda. We have taken it to the extreme but there are so many chemicals in household products. We even use Natures Gate for our hair and unscented natural soaps.


                    • #11
                      Re: Constant licking???


                      I'm not sure where you live in Saskatchewan, but one of the best Trek for Tourettes out there is in Saskatoon:
                      Saskatoon (Saskatoon Resource Unit)

                      2 pm
                      The Victoria Boathouse
                      Victoria Park & Spadina Cres West
                      (Behind Riversdale Pool and Riverside Badminton & Tennis Club)

                      You'd meet lots of other families living with Tourette, and at a bare minimum you should try and contact Rachelle or Tracy at the Resource Unit.
                      They are both amazing women!

                      Saskatoon Resource Unit

                      Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
                      Phone: 306-371-8348 (Rachelle) or 306-933-2219 (Tracy)
                      Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

                      TSFC Homepage
                      TSFC Membership


                      • #12
                        Re: Constant licking???

                        Oh yea forgot to say something about BPA in cans of food. It's in the lining of the cans. It's in the lining of soda cans too. We try to buy things in glass bottles.


                        • #13
                          Re: Constant licking???

                          Thanks for the tips about laundry and soaps etc... Excellent points! We have made the transition from chemicals for cleaning, to simple vinegar and water with lemon at times, for that citrus fresh scent.
                          I have also added probiotics as well as fish oil to our families regime. I have heard about BPA in cans. Hard to believe. We have also switched to organic and I will now only buy meat that is antibiotic free and grain fed. Going back to basics and the original "hunter and gatherer" mentality. I would also suggest reading "wheat belly" for anyone who hasn't yet . It changed my life and the way I look at food and what to feed my family.
                          I am always interested in what other parents do as well. Thanks again for the useful info.