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Do any of your kids have stress related tics?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I can't figure my oldest out sometimes (he's almost 7 yrs old, btw). He's so bright and creative and driven and exuberant. I can't ever remember him complaining of being bored because he constantly entertains himself (and his brother). He's confident and happy. He's gentle and kind. He's a really happy kid with a great attitude towards life....And he tends to have anxiety sometimes. He's VERY sensitive, both physically (noises, sensations, tastes, smells) and emotionally (big life issues).

A lot of times, we can talk through things he's anxious about. He's not anxious most of the time. But I guess I've learned to anticipate things that will upset him. When he was afraid of Halloween decorations the last few years, we simply avoided them. We try to talk about his fears but I don't push him. In general, while he has his quirky things he's afraid of, he's the kind of kid who is willing to try almost anything. He is so enthusiastic.

Sometimes, he has these tics, like maybe making an annoying clicking sound. But the most common tic he's had, which he has now, is blinking. 90% of the time, he doesn't have tics. But over the years, they come out from time to time and then abruptly go away. Right now, he constantly blinks to the point where everyone in the world notices it. When I look at him, all I can think of is stress. He must feel stressed on some level. It really bothers me, because I have OCD and I worry that he will have it too. Maybe he has it right now and that's what the blinking means. I gave him anxiety genes.

Anyway, do you deal with this sort of thing with your bright or gifted child? And do you have any advice for me, books to read, BTDT, etc?
post #2 of 29
Yes! My ds just turned 7 and he tics sometimes. Like your son, he is also very bright and gifted, yet he's anxious and stresses. I suffer from anxiety and I think I passed along the anxiety gene to him

He is sensitive to noise, tastes and can even be visually sensitive (he can't stand to watch his sister brush her teeth) and he can't seem to easily deal with life's curve balls. We are always able to walk/talk him through things but it breaks my heart that he struggles.

He started ticcing right before he turned 6. His first tic was throat clearing. I would hear him do it off and on and I chalked it up to allergies. A couple months into the throat clearing, he started blinking. He was blinking all.the.time. Everyone noticed. Friends and family were asking what was wrong with his eyes.

At that point, I panicked and took him to see a Pediatric Neurologist. I had convinced myself through reading online that he had Tourette Syndrome. He explained that the tics need to be motor AND vocal and last over a year to be considered Tourette's. He also explained that it's very common for children (especially boys) to have transient tics at some point, but those do not usually last for more than a year. I have read that transient tics can come and go for years and while it's not considered TS, the difference is transient tics take a longer break. For doctors to diagnose someone with TS, that person should never have a tic-free period longer than 3 months.

I have read through my countless hours of reading that gifted children are more likely to tic. I think they do stress a bit more than average.

We did find out our son suffered IgG allergies to gluten and casein and once on a gf/cf diet, his tics have decreased, even under anxiety. I have no clue what it will be like when we come off the diet. Who knows if the decrease in tics is even diet related?

I did start giving him Natural Calm at bedtime, since I read that extra magnesium helps them relax. Epsom salt baths are great too if he seems stressed!

I just wanted to let you know your not alone!
post #3 of 29
P.S.

There is a terrific book out there that has helped me tremendously understand my ds tics.

Sheila Rogers-- "Tics and Tourette’s: Breakthrough Discoveries in Natural Treatments"
post #4 of 29
Yep, mine has anxiety tics. He does this thing with his fingers that I can't describe, let alone imitate. It's a compulsive thing and it comes out terribly during periods of stress. I also tend to be anxious, and now we both take L-Theanine with decaffeinated green tea. It helps us both a lot. He still tics, but it's less frequent, and other behaviors that I deem far more obnoxious and socially inept--like talking out, brash interruptions, attention-seeking behaviors--decrease significantly.
post #5 of 29
Yes, my dd has a throat-clearing tic.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
OMG, THANK YOU. Thank you SO much. I was hesitant to post this but now I'm glad I did. It does make me feel like it's not just us. I'm going to read more about transient tics. I haven't thought to mark down dates but I'm sure the blinking lasts less than 3 months.

The first time I ever remember him blinking was at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party when he was 4. He was pretty overstimulated by all the chaos and lighting. And then, he was afraid of the big ChuckE person in the mouse suit. He blinked continuously but then it seemed to go away. Over the years, we've noticed he does it but I've never been able to find a pattern with it. It seems intense while it's going on but I don't think it last more than maybe 2 months. Right now, we're going through a big move. We sold our house and moved into a small apartment; we'll be moving into our new house soon. He probably doesn't play outside as much as before and I know he misses being able to spread out with all his stuff.

I'll still mention it to my doctor at the 7 year appointment, but I feel so much better about it now. I think he's just prone to anxiety and while it's not like I did it on purpose, I know it came from me. It's kind of perverse. The thing that makes a person's brain so sensitive to learning is the same thing that makes it so sensitive to *everything* else...it's a mixed blessing, to be sure. It could be worse, but still...
It's hard sometimes.

Anyway, THANK YOU again.
post #7 of 29
Have you tried good sunglasses (perhaps even indoors sometimes)? Excessive blinking can sometimes be a light-sensitivity issue.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Have you tried good sunglasses (perhaps even indoors sometimes)? Excessive blinking can sometimes be a light-sensitivity issue.
We tried that last year during my son's eye blinking. It didn't seem to help but certainly doesn't hurt! We tend to wear sunglasses here anyway in Florida!
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
The thing that makes a person's brain so sensitive to learning is the same thing that makes it so sensitive to *everything* else...it's a mixed blessing, to be sure. It could be worse, but still...
It's hard sometimes.
:
post #10 of 29
Hi mama

Blinking is the classic first tic in Tourette's, my first tic was a clicking sound I made with my tongue on the roof of my mouth.

Tics aren't caused by stress, imho, but are a way of throwing off stress, to expel it in many different ways. So, while I tic all the time, I tic most often when I'm stressed out, because there's more going on for my brain to deal with and therefore more neural activity to get mixed in with the ticcing.
post #11 of 29
I agree Ali- I don't think tics are caused by stress but I think that some kids tic from stress. Does that make sense? Its hard to explain, but I guess what I'm trying to say is I know my son has transient tics that come & go, but they are basically non-existent unless he eats the wrong foods or is under major stress. So I don't know what to make of it, lol.

I know there must be a reason the tics are there to begin with. Whether it's a food/brain allergy or vaccine damage. I just know tics and Tourette's do not run in either side of our family that we know of so there's no link there.

My ds will go lengths of time and not tic at all, so I'm just thankful it's mild.
post #12 of 29
Yes, my 7 year old son has tics. They come and go. And there are new ones every once in a while. We've had the eye-blinking. Lip-licking. Neck rolling. And more. I've posted about this extensively in the Special Needs forum. Look it up there...the thread became quite lengthy and many of the same posters responded there as have already posted here. Maybe I will see if I can find and link it. You are SO not alone!
post #13 of 29
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...highlight=tics

This should be a link to the thread I started a while back. See if it works, and if it helps at all.
post #14 of 29
Yes, yes,yes. Right now the main one is this finger rubbing thing. Unfortunately when I am reading to him somehow he always gets his fingers near my ear -yeekikes!! They come and go, coming more frequently when stressed.
post #15 of 29
Oh my gosh. My ds has these too! He went through an eye blinking phase and we thought he might have allergies. The pediatrician said it was probably a behavioral thing and we should just not mention it and eventually it would stop. And it did, thankfully. But when pp mentioned it, I remembered that he also had the throat-clearing thing. He was doing it all the time when we were at the relatives' house for Christmas. Somehow that stopped on its own, too.

Right now he is wiping his mouth with his sleeve all the time. He definitely does it more when stressed or excited. By the end of the day, his poor cheeks are bright pink and his lips are all chapped.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Yes, my dd has a throat-clearing tic.
Interesting. DS does this as well and it DRIVES ME CRAZY. According to our pediatrician it should clear up in 6-12 months but you never know.

When DS was younger he always talked very squeaky. Found out he was really messing up his vocal cords doing that and he went to speach therapy. Now he has this throat clearing thing

DD picks at her lips, but I'm hoping that will clear up after winter.
post #17 of 29
Just checking in here. My 5.5 year old daughter still sucks her thumb and twirls her hair. I believe I will let her alone about it. If I thought she would drop that and take up with a noise-making tic, well, it makes ME tic just thinking about it!
post #18 of 29
I totally agree with Tatoomom. DS1 had eye-blinking and hand-clenching tics from the end of my pregnancy with his younger brother until a few months later. There were a number of other stressors going on at that time as well. I think the anxiety built up and his body had to throw it off somehow -- and it came out as tics. They've come back intermittingly during times of stress or extended anxiety. They will also come out when he's overtired. Enough sleep plays a big role in keeping them in check.

Transient tics occur in something like 10-15% of all children at some time or another during childhood, often connected with a period of increased stress or anxiety. Most kids usually grow out of them by age 10 (and I think I remember that the most common "start" age is something around 7 years old). Boys are more often afflicted, as are kids with "neuro" differences. I think gifted qualifies as neurodifferentiated.

The best advice I got was to just ignore the behavior and not draw attention to it. In our case this was fine except when H was clenching his hands when he really needed to have them open. Then we would just gently ask him to open his hand. (This is the tic that reappears most frequently around here.)

Try not to stress about it. Take note of when it happens and for how long, but try not to worry about it. Maybe try to find a way to help your ds relax or throw off the stress in some other way (yoga, meditation, or something very physical). H responded well to wrestling with us (where we got down and dirty with him and let him win after a good struggle).
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Again, thank you so much!! I smiled when I saw there were more replies. I really appreciate it. Teachma, thank you for the helpful link!

We've recently been on vacation (and have had visiting family with us) and we've all noticed that ds's blinking has *dramatically* decreased. He does still do it and I still plan to talk to our ped about it. But the fact that the blinking significantly decreased during a fun week makes me feel better. And it makes me think that it is caused by stress because we've noticed that pattern in the past and this latest development seems to confirm that.

It could definitely be one of those transient tics. Or I still have OCD in the back of my mind. Either way, I just feel better about the whole thing. I really appreciate your replies so much! Thank you!
post #20 of 29
My son chewed on his collar and sleeves when he was in preschool, now he has a lip-licking tic. For a brief amount of time he had a grimacing tic, which was actually the least damaging one, but stood out the most as a recognizable tic.

He is allowed to chew gum at school and keeps aquafor at his desk.

I don't think he is stressed or anxious. He has a lot of mental and physical energy, and he can't always let it out. Maybe that is a type of stress, but he is not "overburdened", IMO. He's a pretty happy go lucky guy, and usually oblivious to what is expected of him.

His tics go down in the summer, when we can be outside more.

L.
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