Self-Hypnosis Helps Children, Teens with Tourette Syndrome

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2010-07-14 06:09

Children and teens who have Tourette syndrome may improve their quality of life through self-hypnosis. A new study found that the children had significant improvement in tics after just a few sessions of self-hypnosis taught with the assistance of videotape training.

Tourette syndrome (Gilles de la Tourette syndrome) is a neurological disorder that appears before individuals reach their eighteenth birthday. It is characterized by frequent, repetitive, and rapid involuntary movements (tics) involving the face, arms, limbs, or trunk. These tics may be accompanied by verbal tics, such as grunting, shouting, barking, and throat clearing.

Symptoms can range from very mild to severe, with most cases falling into the mild category. Associated conditions include attention problems (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), obsessional compulsive behavior, and learning disabilities. Males are affected three to four times more often than females.

The self-hypnosis research was carried out by Jeffrey Lazarus, MD, and Susan K. Klein, MD, PhD, who were with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine when the study was conducted. A total of 33 children and teens ages 6 to 19 years participated. All of the young people had motor tics and three had verbal tics when they entered the study.

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