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Thread: Coughing tics

  1. #1
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    Default 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. #2
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    Default 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?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Coughing tics

    Quote 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

  4. #4
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    Default 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.

  5. #5
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    Default 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.

  6. #6
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    Default 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?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Coughing tics

    Quote 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.

  8. #8
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    Default 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.

  9. #9
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    Default 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.

  10. #10
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    Default 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?

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