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Practical Strategies for People with Tourette Syndrome

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Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes involuntary movements and sounds known as “tics”. These tics can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem, social interactions, and overall quality of life. Data suggests that there are roughly 350,000 to 450,000 people in the US that have Tourette syndrome or other persistent tic disorders. Since the Covid pandemic began, doctors have also observed a rise in the number of teen girls experiencing tics, indicating an increase in Tourette syndrome in teens.

Living with Tourette syndrome can present many challenges ranging from behavioral problems to learning disorders, however, with the right strategies, people with Tourette syndrome can begin leading fulfilling lives. This article will explore some practical strategies that can help people with Tourette syndrome to navigate their daily lives with more ease and less stress, helping them achieve a better quality of life.

Build a support network

Living with Tourette syndrome can be an isolating experience which can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. By connecting with others who share similar experiences and challenges, people with Tourette’s can find a sense of belonging and acceptance that may be absent in other areas of their life. 

Support groups can offer understanding, acceptance, and validation and provide a safe environment where individuals with Tourette’s can freely express themselves without fear of judgment. Sharing personal stories and listening to others with whom they can relate can create a powerful sense of relief and help boost overall well-being. Support groups can also offer coping strategies, valuable tools, resources and advice for individuals with Tourette’s as well as their family members.  

Manage stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can intensify tics and significantly impact the well-being of individuals with Tourette’s. Developing effective stress management techniques are therefore essential for helping sufferers cope with their symptoms. Practices such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, regular exercise, and engaging in enjoyable hobbies can help to reduce stress levels and reduce the severity and frequency of tics.

Seeking professional support from therapists trained in behavioural therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and comprehensive behavioural intervention for tics (CBIT) can provide individuals with valuable tools to manage anxiety and stress associated with Tourette’s. By implementing these strategies and seeking appropriate guidance, individuals with Tourette’s can better navigate the challenges posed by stress and enhance their quality of life.

Promote self-esteem and confidence

The challenges presented when living with Tourette’s can sometimes lead to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. To combat such feelings, it’s important to nurture self-acceptance and a positive self-image by engaging in activities, interests and hobbies that can boost confidence and help individuals focus on their talents and strengths. Family, friends and support groups can also act as an emotional support during difficult times helping to promote self-esteem and confidence, and make it easier to navigate life’s challenges together.

Endnote

While living with Tourette syndrome can present challenges, implementing practical coping strategies can make a significant difference in individuals’ lives. By building a supportive network, managing stress and anxiety, and promoting self-esteem, individuals with Tourette’s can navigate their daily lives with greater resilience and improve their overall quality of life.


Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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