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Behavioral Therapy as a Treatment for Tourette Syndrome

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behavioral therapy treatment may help Tourette syndrome iStockphoto/Thinkstock

In behavior therapy, patients learn to detect signs that a tic will likely occur and they are taught to engage in competing responses, which are behaviors that are physically incompatible with the impending tic. Thus, patients learn new ways to manage their tics.”

The study included 122 participants with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder. Forty-four were women and 78 were men, with their ages ranging from 16 to 69.

Participants were assigned to one of two groups.

One group underwent eight sessions of the behavioral therapy called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT, over 10 weeks. The second group underwent eight sessions of supportive treatment for 10 weeks.

Those who responded positively to the treatment underwent three monthly booster sessions.

The results showed significant improvement among participants in the CBIT group. HealthDay News reported that tic severity dropped by 26 percent in the CBIT group and 12 percent in the supportive treatment group. The research article added that besides being an effective treatment, it is also a safe treatment for Tourette syndrome.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tourette Syndrome: Data and Statistics. Web. 8 August 2012

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet. Web. 8 August 2012

MayoClinic.com. Tourette Syndrome. Web. 8 August 2012

HealthDay News. Tourette Patients Benefit from Behavioral Therapy: Study. Web. 8 August 2012

Wilhelm, S., Peterson, A.L., Piacentini, J., Woods, D.W., Deckersbach, T., Sukhodolsky, D., Chang, S., Liu, H., Dziura, J., Walkup, J.T., and Scahill, L. “Randomized Trial of Behavior Therapy in Adults with Tourette Syndrome.” Archives of General Psychiatry. Web. 8 August 2012

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