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Thread: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than b4?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Georgia, USA
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    Default Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than b4?

    A little history. My son is 10 and he has been diagnosed since March 2011. He went on guanfacine 1mg for 10 mos. and then I started home schooling and took him off the meds in Feb 2012. He was ticcing some for 2 mos off meds but not even noticeable unless you knew he had TS and these were little tics. He was then completely tic free for 3 mos off meds. He got a fever blister/canker sore in his mouth(the first time he had ever gotten one) and then he started ticcing so strong. Stronger than when he was first diagnosed. He is ticcing about 45 to 50 times in one minute. We ofcourse can't get into see the nuero until Oct. 22 and I've put him back on the guanfacine since July 25 2012 because he has a lip licking tic that has made his lips sore, cracked and raw. He also has as a nose hack and a tic that sounds like a hmrph laugh but it goes on for about a minute.

    My question. Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing like this so strong? Have any of your children or yourselves been completely tic free and then start again with a vengeance?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    Hi Geneva, although everyone's waxing/waning patterns are probably different and unique to them, in our case, this is very common for my son. He will go through a 6 week period of constant tics, and then it calms down and almost completely disappears for about 3 months, and then once again 6 weeks of tics...and so on. In our case, it is become such a regular pattern that we can almost predict to a 2 week window of when his tics will start. I don't think this is everyone's experience though.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    There is no "normal" for TS. I had this pattern when I was young, but didn't know what it was. I had good weeks, even months, and then a bad 6 weeks. Some outgrow it, and for some it stays the same or gets worse. Chances are he wasn't completely tic free, just that the tics were so slight that no one, not even him, was aware of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Toronto, Ontario
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    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    From the TSFC's Understanding Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook for Families:
    Tics wax and wane (increase and decrease) in intensity, and range from subtle to bizarre, and from mild to severe.
    Parents of children living with TS have told me that "good months" occur in the summer when their child is not at school.
    The waxing and waning of tics can be dependent on environmental factors such as:
    stress, anxiety, excitement, fatigue and illness.

    I cannot respond to the effects of guanfacine, however, find it interesting Geneva, that when you started home schooling your son, you also took him off the meds. My interpretation: you removed the environmental factors that might have been causing him to tic more, and his tics reduced. However, this could have been as a result of a natural waning of the tics not related to the school environment or the meds.

    Now, his tics are increasing again. This could be due to a natural waxing of the tic cycle, or there could be a new environmental stress that you haven't recognized. Has your family moved? Has another big change occurred? Is he returning to school tomorrow, or is he continuing to be home-schooled?
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina View Post
    From the TSFC's Understanding Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook for Families:


    Parents of children living with TS have told me that "good months" occur in the summer when their child is not at school.
    The waxing and waning of tics can be dependent on environmental factors such as:
    stress, anxiety, excitement, fatigue and illness.
    I have heard this from other people, but for us it is actually the exact opposite. Anytime my son has any kind of vacation away from the regular rountine of school, his tics increase in intensity. He always gets really bad around mid-July right through to the end of August, and then about a week or two before school starts (right around the time that we start trying to get him back to a regular bedtime and morning routine in prep for school) the tics completely calm down to the point where they are barely noticable. They tend to remain calm until xmas holidays...once again, away from school, lack of regular routine, coupled with the excitement of xmas. Calm down again in January, and then boom, spring break hits and they come back again. They calm down again by the time April comes around and tend to stay calm until July again. This has been a predictable waxing and waning pattern of his for 2 years now. He has ADHD, and his little brain is running at a fast pace at all times, and whenever life slows down and his brain isn't being constantly challenged and stimulated, it seems to have trouble running smoothly. My son equates his brain to a computer game. It runs the way it is supposed to most of the time, but sometimes it has 'glitches'. This is what he tells his buddies They are all computer obsessed kids so they seem to 'get it' when he explains it like that:P

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    Hi AnnC,
    Sounds like your son needs the routine of school year-round. Do you allow him to sleep in on holidays and follow a different routine? Or is the difference more in activity level - and would summer camps and March Break camps help in keeping the routine constant?
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    Hi Tina,
    I think it has to do with the amount of focus and thought that is required during the school year. It is as though his brain starts to glitch as soon as it is bored or being underused if that makes any sense. We went away to Florida this past spring break, and despite the fact that we kept very busy on our trip, he still started to tic the night we left and ticced badly throughout the entire trip, although this likely had to do with the excitement and lack of sleep (due to early flight) as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
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    Default Re: Is it normal to be tic free for 3 mos and then start ticcing again stronger than

    Hi AnnC,
    Excitement and lack of sleep will definitely trigger an increase in tics. Maybe more so than his brain "being bored or being underused."
    Also consider he's with his family and that is a "safe place" - so he may let out more tics because he's with you.
    I wish him lots of focus for the start of school!
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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