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  • Coughing tics

    Is there any way to help decrease these so they are not disruptive? My son had a cold and now he seems to have developed a coughing tic. He had this before, years ago. He took zoloft last time. His ped want s to wait a bit and see if it goes away. He is in 7th grade.

  • #2
    Re: Coughing tics

    What you describe falls under the category of sensory tics. These are tics that are triggered by some sensation in our bodies that feels like an irritant or causes discomfort, relief from which comes when the tic makes the discomfort "feel just right".

    Examples of sensory tics would include:
    • Itch
    • Crick in neck
    • Nasal Stuffiness
    • Throat discomfort
    • Muscle Tension
    • Discomfort
    • May be psychological inner tension,anxiety


    My son had a cold and now he seems to have developed a coughing tic
    .

    How long ago did he have a cold? Sometimes colds cause an irritation in the throat that results in, even non-Tourette people to cough for a couple of months after the cold.

    As you probably know, tics wax and wane with new tics emerging while others go into remission. Perhaps the throat irritation from the cold triggered the emergence of the cough tic.

    Have you tried soothing lozenges, perhaps with mild anesthetic initially, to be replaced with non medicated lozenges. If this intervention is chosen, it would probably be a good idea to ration the number of lozenges daily, with an agreement with your son that these would be used for a limited time, say, two weeks...to preclude a "dependence on lozenges".

    More important, is the question, in my view, in what way is the cough tic disruptive? Is this at school, at home, at your place of worship, on public transportation? How does your son feel about his tic(s)?

    Why is ignoring the cough not an option?

    He took zoloft last time.
    How did that work for him?
    Steve
    TouretteLinks Forum

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Coughing tics

      Originally posted by Steve View Post
      What you describe falls under the category of sensory tics. These are tics that are triggered by some sensation in our bodies that feels like an irritant or causes discomfort, relief from which comes when the tic makes the discomfort "feel just right".

      Examples of sensory tics would include:
      • Itch
      • Crick in neck
      • Nasal Stuffiness
      • Throat discomfort
      • Muscle Tension
      • Discomfort
      • May be psychological inner tension,anxiety


      .

      How long ago did he have a cold? Sometimes colds cause an irritation in the throat that results in, even non-Tourette people to cough for a couple of months after the cold.

      As you probably know, tics wax and wane with new tics emerging while others go into remission. Perhaps the throat irritation from the cold triggered the emergence of the cough tic.

      Have you tried soothing lozenges, perhaps with mild anesthetic initially, to be replaced with non medicated lozenges. If this intervention is chosen, it would probably be a good idea to ration the number of lozenges daily, with an agreement with your son that these would be used for a limited time, say, two weeks...to preclude a "dependence on lozenges".

      More important, is the question, in my view, in what way is the cough tic disruptive? Is this at school, at home, at your place of worship, on public transportation? How does your son feel about his tic(s)?

      Why is ignoring the cough not an option?



      How did that work for him?

      Thank you Steve. The cold was recent. It has just been going on for over 6 weeks. At first he did have congestion. But, now he seems to be improving but the cough hasn't changed. The doctor wasn't sure, he just didn't want to do tests or anything if it wasn't an infection anymore.

      It is disruptive at school. Kids tell him to be quiet and worry he is contagious. At home it isn't a problem.

      Ignoring the cough is an option. That is what we are trying to do now. I just couldn't figure out if he was getting better or not. He never had a fever. But, he is much better except the cough.

      The zoloft worked well, but it was a combination of having it explained to him, and talking about bullies. There were 2 kids that had been calling him names but had stopped, not making a big deal about the cough and the zoloft. He only took it a short while.

      He moved on to other tics, but they are more quiet (chewing, clicking, hand movements). I don't notice them.

      His cousin has some facial tics (mainly blinking). just adding some history

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coughing tics

        As a metter of interest, I looked back one your earlier posts, one in which you mentioned:

        He had a coughing tic when he was 9
        and I believe your son is now about 13, based on another earlier post

        Have you investigated providing your son CBIT, at his age of thirteen, he would probably be an ideal candidate.

        I too have a cough tic that has persisted most of my life, and although occasionally people might ask if I have a cold, I can usually manage it by coughing quietly with my mouth closed, or finding relief by slowly and quietly clearing my throat without drawing much attention.

        Lets face it, people everywhere are constantly clearing their throats...in airplanes, at the office...in places of worship!!

        It is possible to blend in and not be noticed...I can attest to that first hand.

        But that brings up another question.

        Does your son feel comfortable and confident enough with his Tourette that, if he expresses his cough tic, and someone brings it to his attention, that he could simply say, "Oh, it's just a tic"

        Does he have a prepared explanation to provide to anyone who might inquire or even challenge him for his tics?

        The explanation I recommend is, "The sounds and/or movements I make are because I have Tourette Syndrome. Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder I was born with, and the movements / sounds are involuntary. Are you familiar with Tourette Syndrome?

        I recommend this explanation because it hits the important points:
        • The name: Tourette Syndrome repeated three times so there is no misunderstanding
        • Disorder..it is NOT a sickness nor a disease and it is not "catching"
        • Neurological: the disorder is in the brain wiring it is genetic and we are born with it.
        • Involuntary: NOT Behavioural...a critical distinction to make, especially to skeptical teachers and poorly informed adults.
        • Ends with a direct question to invite a dialogue to further awareness


        It is recommended that this be rehearsed with a parent or other trusted friend or family member, to become familiar with the words and to learn other important facts about Tourette. Have available a FAQ type brochure that can be given to the person making the inquiry.

        As you may know our tics may be involuntary, but they are influenced by environmental factors. Typically stress, fatigue and excitement are the main triggers that can make tics more frequent or intense. But antecedents and consequences of expressing tic symptoms can also exacerbate tics, so someone expressing annoyance with his tics, or someone laughing at or with is tics could similarly exacerbate his tic activity.

        Positive environmental factors can help lessen tic activity. Being calm and relaxed, being in a supportive and tolerant environment or being engaged in an activity requiring focused attention such as drawing, carving, singing, playing a musical instrument....even juggling can almost cause tics to disappear.

        It may be worthwhile having your son learn and regularly employ some common relaxation techniques often recommended by therapists who treat kids with Tourette. These techniques are described throughout this entire closed Forum thread.
        Steve
        TouretteLinks Forum

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Coughing tics

          I don't know about therapy. He was pretty resistant when we tried before. He does have confidence to explain, but he doesn't have the words. When he first had the cough when he was 9, he told people he had a nervous tic and they let it go. He has never heard Tourette's.

          the tics don't bother him and mostly aren't noticeable. It is the coughing that becomes a problem. But people would understand.

          he chews a lot when he is playing video games. He plays sports and is involved in drama and is pretty busy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coughing tics

            He has never heard Tourette's.
            Do I understand correctly your son is unaware of his Tourette diagnosis, and is unfamiliar with the name Tourette Syndrome because he does not associate the name with his symptoms?
            Steve
            TouretteLinks Forum

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Coughing tics

              Originally posted by Steve View Post
              Do I understand correctly your son is unaware of his Tourette diagnosis, and is unfamiliar with the name Tourette Syndrome because he does not associate the name with his symptoms?
              I am sorry Steve. Am I in the wrong place? No one says Tourette's to us, they just say tics. I don't know if they will stop. They seem to come and go.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coughing tics

                You are not in the wrong place at all; I'm just trying to understand your situation.

                I must have misunderstood. What exactly is your son's diagnosis or has he been formally diagnosed with some form of movement or tic disorder or some other disorder(s)?

                No one says Tourette's to us
                Not sure if I understand the context of this statement.
                Steve
                TouretteLinks Forum

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Coughing tics

                  He hasn't had a formal diagnosis. Thank you for being kind.

                  we have just been seeing the tics when they become issues, like the persistent cough, or he had some age inappropriate behavior where he was moving his food across his cheek (I can't explain and he was discreet, but I worried he would be teased). I notice other little things, clicks, chewing, he does something with his toes, but they arent causing any problems. So the docs just tell us that whatever he is doing is a tic.

                  Now the cough seems to be back. I am not convinced it isn't just lingering from the cold.

                  I am not sure what the point of my post was. I have just been trying to help him get over this cold for about 6 weeks and now I am not sure what to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Coughing tics

                    He hasn't had a formal diagnosis. Thank you for being kind.
                    There are no judgements made here; we try to provide the most accurate and current information about issues surrounding Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders, along what support services might be available, and it is up to you to choose whether you act on the information you receive.

                    I am not sure what the point of my post was.
                    The way I see this discussion is that you are concerned about your son, and that you seem to be uncertain if his various behaviours are symptoms of a disorder or symptoms of an ongoing illness (in this case, his earlier cold), or perhaps something else.

                    I sense there is some ambivalence about having your son assessed by a movement disorders specialist, one who has good clinical experience with Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders, am I correct?
                    Steve
                    TouretteLinks Forum

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coughing tics

                      Yes, the first person who said he had tics was a ped neurologist who we liked, but isn't on my insurance. When I took him to therapy the therapist would tell me nothing. I know he tried to teach him some relaxation exercises but that was about it.

                      It is just we usually get directed where to go, and this I am not sure what to do. I could ask his ped to recommend someone to evaluate I am ambivalent, but I am not sure why.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Coughing tics

                        It's important to be aware that not all physicians and other health professionals have a professional interest, adequate training or sufficient clinical experience to recognize recognize the symptoms, diagnose, or treat tic disorders, Tourette Syndrome along with its associated disorders that often include some or all of the following: OCD, ADD, Anxiety and Mood Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorder.

                        It's not surprising that you may not have been provided useful advice and direction in ways to help your son and strategies for the family in dealing with your son's symptoms.

                        I know he tried to teach him some relaxation exercises but that was about it.
                        Relaxation exercises are indeed helpful, but should be taught as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy and not taught in a vacuum. Knowing when and how to use them is critical for success, and knowing how specific exercises might affect tics, either beneficially or adversely requires experience and an understanding of Tourette. Some exercises can trigger tic activity, making the situation worse.

                        It sounds like your son may have been seen by a Behavioural Therapist. Behavioural therapy has become specialized for kids (people) with Tourette Syndrome to address a number of factors to help the individual effectively manage their symptoms.

                        For a complete overview of how Behavioural Therapy, specifically CBIT is provided to teach children and adults to manage their symptoms, please see this PDF downloadable article I wrote.

                        To locate a competent and recognized medical professional specialist in your area of Southern California, contact the Souther California Chapter of The Tourette Association:

                        Southern California Chapter 855-487-2762 (855-4-TSASOCAL)
                        E-mail jonah@tsa-socal.org
                        website: Tourette Syndrome Association | Southern California Chapter

                        They should be able to put you in contact with medical professionals in your area who have an interest in tic disorders and Tourette, as well as point you to local support and information groups close to where you live.

                        In addition to the local Chapter, you can also contact the National Office of The Tourette Association of America for names of local medical professionals, especially those providing CBIT, as they maintain a National database of accredited CBIT practitioners.
                        Steve
                        TouretteLinks Forum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Coughing tics

                          Thanks Steve. He has an appointment with a ped neurologist next week. He still has the cough (I am not convinced it isn't still from the cold). I don't usually notice the tics when he has them. Hopefully, my husband can go with us.

                          I am not quite sure how to phrase why we are going to the appt to my son. I don't want him to think it is a bad thing. I can explain that we are trying to find out about the cough okay, I think, but how do I tell him that we want to know more about the other tics he has sometimes? Or do I just say it like that? I know he doesn't like me talking about him and I do want him to be aware that I am going to mention some of the things he has done.

                          His ped was pretty clear to him that we know he can't control the coughing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Coughing tics

                            I can explain that we are trying to find out about the cough okay, I think, but how do I tell him that we want to know more about the other tics he has sometimes?
                            I believe honesty and straightforward dialogue is the best strategy. You may want to ask the pediatric neurologist for a full assessment in order to provide your son with a formal diagnosis. That way you can know what your son is dealing with in order to weigh his options for how to best deal with whatever is going on.

                            Without knowing what you're dealing with, you can only speculate and your son is left confused.

                            The doctor may make a provisional diagnosis, subject to re-assessment at a later date.

                            Your doctor may even order some diagnostic tests, not for Tourette as there is no medical diagnostic test for Tourette, but rather to rule out some specific possible causes for tics.

                            Furthermore, tics do not necessarily mean a Tourette diagnosis, which is why you would want your son to be seen and assesses by a medical specialist with clinical experience with Tourette and tic disorders. A diagnosis is made through interview, observation and family and medical history, which is why a consultant with clinical experience in this field is vital.

                            One good way to identify consultants in your area who can be relied on for a competent assessment is to communicate with your local Chapter of Tourette Association, contact info provided earlier.

                            Hopefully, my husband can go with us
                            What might prevent him from joining you
                            Steve
                            TouretteLinks Forum

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Coughing tics

                              I am not sure if I ever followed up. We went to a ped neurologist (my son, me and my husband). She was very nice. It seemed like she was picking up things we don't notice. He isn't having any issues socially or at school. She said what we are doing, not making an issue of tics is the best thing to do. They seem to be decreasing over time. I felt good that we do have a contact in case he does have any issues. She asked about OCD or anxiety. He doesn't have anything that is causing problems.

                              Comment

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