Treating tics

How do know you if you have tics?

You may be the one to notice that you are bothered by something or that you have problems, but it may also be your parents or teachers at school who notice this. The first action often taken is visiting a general practitioner or the Youth Care Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). If they think that you might have tics, you will be referred to a psychologist, neurologist and/or psychiatrist. By conducting interviews and tests, they will examine where your problems come from and how you can be helped. It is possible that your problems are related not only to tics, but also to other things. For example, you are also often hyperactive or you have difficulty focusing.

Will it go away?

For many people, tics go away as they get older – sometimes disappearing completely. For those whose tics don’t go away, the tics do tend to decrease in severity.

Treatment

When your problems are better identified, the specialist will work with you and your parents to design a good plan to help you feel better. This specialist might be a psychologist, or it could be that you will be referred to a neurologist or psychiatrist. They can determine whether you also need medication to help you feel better.

There are different types of treatment:

For yourself

  • Behavioural therapy: Behavioural therapy helps you learn how to deal with tics on your own. For example, you learn to sense when a tic (a movement or sound) is about to occur and what the best thing is for you to do to avoid making the movement or sound. Sometimes, however, tics are not the only problem you have. For example, they might make you sad or afraid. There are special exercises for these other problems.
  • Medication: You may also be given medication. In this case, you will take pills every day that ensure that you make the movement or sound less frequently. This medication needs to be taken each time it is prescribed – otherwise it won’t work that well. Keep in mind that all medication can have adverse effects, which means that you may actually begin to experience other problems.

For your parents

It is also very important that your parents know what the problem is and how they can deal with it. Your parents learn, for example, how they can help you with some things.

Would you like to know more about tics?

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