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Other Health Problems That Can Occur Along With Tourette's Disorder

The two main disorders associated with Tourette's disorder (TD) are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Up to half of children who have Tourette's disorder also have ADHD. And more than half have symptoms of ADHD.1
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Up to two-thirds of children and teens who have Tourette's disorder are thought to have some degree of OCD. And about one-third of adults who have Tourette's have OCD that has been present since adolescence.1 Symptoms of OCD can be mild.

Children who have Tourette's are also at increased risk for:

  • Depression. This can be a side effect of some medicines used to treat tics. A child with Tourette's may also become depressed when he or she first starts showing signs of another condition, such as ADHD or OCD.
  • Anxiety disorders or phobias.
  • Learning disabilities or difficulties.
  • Behavioral problems. Children with Tourette's disorder who also have other conditions (such as ADHD, OCD, or anxiety disorders) may exhibit aggressive, hostile, and immature behavior.
  • Self-injurious behavior. Some tics may lead people with Tourette's disorder to injure themselves even if they don't mean to.
  • Sleep problems. People with Tourette's disorder may have trouble falling asleep, be restless during sleep, and talk during sleep. They may also sleepwalk or have nightmares.
  • Bipolar disorder. Some children and teens with TD also have this condition in which feelings of depression alternate with feelings of high energy (mania). In many people, episodes of either depression or mania are followed by periods of normal functioning.

You may try keeping a record of your child's symptoms and behaviors. Write down what kinds of tics or problem behaviors your child has, when they get worse, and the events that happen around when they occur. Keeping such a record can show patterns that may help identify triggers, which can help you better manage your child's symptoms. It may also be useful if your child is starting new medicines. Be careful not to cause your child more stress by doing this. Don't approach this in a way that makes your child uncomfortable or more self-conscious than normal.

Citations

  1. Sadock BJ, Sadock VA, eds. (2007). Tic disorders. In Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 10th ed., pp. 1235–1243. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
Last Revised July 26, 2011

Last Revised: July 26, 2011

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