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  • Joining to Seek Advice?

    Hi, Everyone. I'm Kim.

    Firstly, I have not been diagnoses with TS or any other tic disorder, though I do believe I may have one, I'm just not sure how to broach the subject with my physician. I'm not really sure where to even start with this.

    I think I have a breathing tic. Sometimes, I don't notice I'm doing it and others will ask me why I'm breathing so funnily, while other times, my weird breathing thing is all I can focus on. It seems to come and go, but it's happened for so long, that I often forget to keep track of how long it lasts because it's like second nature, really.

    I inhale normally, and begin to exhale normally but when I exhale, I find myself forcing air out -- though at the end or almost of my exhale. It's not often accompanied by a sound, though when it is it's anywhere from a sound like a wheeze to a hum. I remember when I was little, I would do this when I ate also (forcefully exhaling before putting any food in my mouth). And this forceful exhale sometimes leaves me really out of breath, as I do it repeatedly. Sometimes when it starts I have this overwhelming urge to do it, even though I don't want to do it (if that makes sense?).

    In the research I've tried doing, it seems like the transient tic disorder describes pretty well what I kind of go through.

  • #2
    Re: Joining to Seek Advice?

    Hello Kim and welcome! Thanks for joining the Forum, and commendations on making inquiries about the breathing symptom that is causing some concern.

    The first question would be why is this a concern for you? Is it causing you distress, impairment socially or at your workplace, or perhaps causing you some pain or discomfort?

    If it doesn't cause you any problems, it might be intellectual curiosity about your body, which is a good reason as well.

    The easiest way to introduce the subject with your doctor is to be start by saying this may not be easy to talk about, but it's something that concerns me.

    That way you alert the doctor you are uncomfortable with the topic, but you have a concern. An attentive, compassionate doctor should now be ready to listen and to even guide you in the conversation.

    You could say, I have this breathing anomaly that I've been doing for years, but have never had the interest (courage, doctor I felt comfortable with...etc etc (fill in the blank) to bring it up.

    You could say, that you've done some reading, and you think it might be a tic, but you would like to be seen by a tic disorder specialist to be properly assessed.

    The doctor may order some medical diagnostic test to rule out medical conditions that cause the symptoms, then proceed to assess you for tic disorder, the latter having no diagnostic test, but is diagnosed through observation and interview, and gathering family and medical history. It's important to be seen by a medical specialist who has training and clinical experience in tic and movement disorders for an accurate assessment.

    Breathing tics are not unusual, and can originate from various areas of the breathing system, including mouth, nose, larynx and breathing diaphragm...all of which can produce their own style of tic.

    Tics are usually preceded by an urge (premonitory urge)
    which is then satisfied by doing the tic. In the case of Tourette, all this takes place outside on one's awareness, so the tics are involuntery.

    However, tics are influenced by the environment (one's surrounding). Environmental factors can be internal (stress, fatigue, anxiety, excitement) or external (people, places, situations) that increase or decrease tic frequency and intensity in a predictable way. The environment doesn't cause tics as tics are involuntary, but the environment can influence tics.

    Once you are assessed and diagnosed, depending on what you feel you need to do, find treatment or therapy or do nothing, you would need to examine your options.

    The easiest and least invasive would be behavior therapy in the form designed specifically for Tourette tic management called Comprehensive Behavior Intervention for Tics (CBIT). The Forum has an extensive section describing all aspects of CBIT HERE

    The could be medication options as well, but if your tic is mainly the breathing tic, and if you want to manage it a bit better, then CBIT therapy might be your best option to consider. You may be able to manage it yourself by learning some very basic relaxation exercises including deep (diaphragmatic breathing).

    Have you ever been treated or received therapy for other associated disorders like anxiety and mood disorders, OCD, ADD, sensory issues?

    These are associated disorders often seen with Tourette and would give your doctor some important clues as to a possible diagnosis.

    What peaked your interest about your symptoms at this particular time?
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      Re: Joining to Seek Advice?

      Thank you, this is very helpful.

      It's always sort of been something I've thought about, it's annoying for me and others around me. It makes me very uncomfortable and self-conscious when people address it or ask why I do it (and part of that may be due to the fact that I myself am unaware as to why I do it). I remember very distinctly my mother (she works in the medical field) broaching the subject with family members, though I don't remember what was said, as I was young -- but I remember them whispering about it.

      It's recently become a more pressing concern for me as it's started up once again. Sometimes it ends with a headache after the repeated forceful exhalation, or leaves me struggling to breathe sometimes if it comes in a particularly bad wave, or sends me into a coughing fit.

      I definitely find that if it's started, being in large groups of people make it worse or if I'm nervous/anxious.

      I've never been treated for anxiety or mood, OCD, ADD, or sensory issues. Though I would say that I do have some unresolved anxiety issues.


      • #4
        Re: Joining to Seek Advice?

        I definitely find that if it's started, being in large groups of people make it worse or if I'm nervous/anxious.....I would say that I do have some unresolved anxiety issues.
        These are medical issues that deserve to be investigated with your family doctor, and perhaps with a referral to a therapist who can help you manage your anxiety issues.

        You may find by managing anxiety and stress that you may also experience some degree of relief from your other symptoms. The process may open opportunities for you to gain insights into the breathing symptoms you experience as well.

        I remember very distinctly my mother (she works in the medical field) broaching the subject with family members, though I don't remember what was said, as I was young
        Unfortunately, sometimes parents fail to recognize symptoms that should be investigated as a medical issue because of the false fear of stigma and lack of understanding.

        As a young adult, this could be your opportunity to take control of your life, your medical care and empower yourself to seek the help and advice you need to learn about your symptoms and be given options to take control and manage those symptoms.

        Do you have a personal physician you can discuss this with?
        TouretteLinks Forum