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Do any of your kids have stress related tics? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
I've been out of town, sorry for my delayed response.

My 11 year old DD has had one tic or another since she was about 5. She's done throat clearing, eye blinking, some weird smile thing, shoulder shrugging, a head shake (this one freaked me out), and is currently on a sniffing thing. They come and go, sometimes gone for months at a time and they usually last a month or so before they go away or change into something else. They intensify during times of stress or discomfort with surroundings. The tics will also disappear during times of physical activity, but resume as soon as she's finished. ex: she was doing the head twitch thing very frequently during the time she was to take her tae kwon do black belt test. The testing was insanely stressful, more so than a typical one due to many reasons. Her head was shaking so much I thought it was going to fall off up until she started the testing. Once she started moving, the head stopped twitching.

With the head shake that freaked me out so bad I took her to the ped. to get some advice. His opinion was that it was her way of releasing stress and is directly related to her intesnseness (is that a word?), her giftedness, and her tendency to bottle her emotions all combined. He said that we could have neurological tests to rule out a medical issue, but that he didn't recommend it until after puberty. Apparently most tics will disappear after puberty so long as it isn't neurological.

We don't point them out to her, there's no point in it. She's homeschooled so doesn't really have to deal with mean comments. We're just riding it out for another year or so and go from there.

Anyhow, no...you aren't alone.
post #22 of 29
Our oldest son does this and has since he was 3. We just went through the whole round of Pediatric Neurologist tests (hence, the gifted diagnosis) and found out that his various tics (they change over time) are caused by anxiety. He said that a lot of gifted kids are anxious and often their tics are things they do to "self-soothe" themselves. His first tic was pinching his nipples (yikes!) which became a big issue during the summer in public. He's mostly over it, but we finally had to be firm and demand he NOT do it because it was just downright skeevy and not appropriate in public. Since then, he picks his lip (problem in winter because of dryness and bleeding from it), pulls his shirt cuff and chews his coat collar and shirts. It's like having a goat!

One of the previous posters mentioned learning your child's stressors, which is a great idea! We talk about things ahead of time and set expectations with our son, since he hates transition and loves routine. We tell him what will happen, when, how and why and it's helped a lot. I wouldn't worry about "passing on" anxiety--gifted kids just seem to have it. It's hard for them, since they know they're "different" from their peers and try to fit in, and it's stressful for the little guys. Just know that you're not alone with the tic thing!
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaughingRedhead View Post
Since then, he picks his lip (problem in winter because of dryness and bleeding from it)
Dd1 does this too! She also picks at the edge of her nose. We went to a birthday party today and she was doing it constantly! I didn't realize that these are tics and didn't make the connection to her doing them when she's feeling anxious, like in social situations.

Thanks for this enlightening thread!
post #24 of 29
Slightly OT? Can a very young child pinch (not herself - me and dh!) as a stress reducer? DD doesn't seem stressed. She's only 16 months. She is very happy, but also intense, and can get really upset if she doesn't get her way. She knows not to pinch, but she keeps doing it. Never in the early morning, seems to get worse in the afternoon or evening. Not sure what is triggering it though. Boredom or frustration? Come in waves - she will do it for 5 min, then stop, then do it an hour or two later for another few minutes. Maybe it is just a normal toddler thing?

Is nail biting a tic? (no, she doesn't do that. But I did, for 41 years.)
post #25 of 29

Mine too!

My dd is 4.5 and has had probably a dozen or so tics (both motor and vocal) over the past 8 months. In retrospect, she might have even had a few well before then only we didn't realize they were "tics"--things like toe curling, finger twisting, hair-holding....I understand, first-hand, how upsetting this can be!

When they first started in ernest this year they were an imitative behavior; she was copying an autistic boy she plays with, but they soon transformed into her own tics: eye blinking/rolling, repetitive hand movements, snorts, sniffs, strange mouth/smile smirks..you get the picture. Each one lasts a few weeks and then changes. When the tongue trusting, neck twisting came I broke down and cried for a good three days after my Google searches turned up Touretts websites.

I was reluctant to bring her to the children's hospital for a neurologic evaluation (her ped. suggested this if we wanted a diagnosis, although she felt confident it wasn't anything "serious") because I didn't want to draw a lot of attention to the tics and/or have dd think we thought they were a "problem." Instead, we started giving her the Kid's Calm magnesium supplement (1/2 teaspoon/day) and brought her to a psyciatric-neurologist who deals primarily with homeopathy.

Two months of the Kid's Calm and her tics have significantly decreased although she still engages in some form of ticking at least once a day(usually while eating--anyone else????)

We've worked through 2 homeopathic remedies (Carcinosin and lycopodium) so far and each only seemed to make the tics worse after the second day. Since the two remedies, she did have one tic free day! We're trying Nux Vomonica next. I'm not sure how I feel about the homeopathy--but I'm willing to try it. The neurologist said he felt she was probably a "conduit for the collective unconscious," she is very sensitive and sometimes we think she just "knows" more than she could possibly "know"--and that all this energy is hard to deal with so the tics are a discharge of excess energy/stress/emotion...not too sure what I think about this either, but again, I'm willing to see where it goes. BTW, this Dr. isn't at all a woo-woo new Age freaky dude. We waited 4 months for our appointment because he is so respected.

The other things that have helped are eliminating food coloring and other additives and simply not paying any attention to the tics--and by this I mean that when I was taking notes (even without her knowing), they seemed worse. Florescent lights (Target or supermarket) really set her off. We took her to her first movie a few weeks ago (Horton Hears a Who) and while she didn't tic in the theater, as soon as we were in the car they were worse than they'd been in months, but it only lasted 1/2 an hour.

AND I've had to simply accept that we are ALL freaks in one way or another! Perhaps our decision (even before this all started) to homeschool helps because I'm not as worried about her being teased.

I'm thankful for your post and I really look forward to reading about the rest of you experiencing similar things---I especially hope that Alima will relate some more of her own experiences.
post #26 of 29

I am so glad to read all of your comments. My 7 yr. old seems to be extremely stressed out and I'm pretty sure he has anxiety.  He lashes out when he is frustrated and hates it when people don't understand what he's talking about, when he feels misunderstood.  He gets so worked up that his veins pop out from his neck, he flops on the floor and yells his words.  He is so sweet and kind and sensitive on the one hand, but angry on the other.  He also has a hard time focusing.  We heard about a supplement called LTO3 that is supposed to work great for attention issues, as well as relaxing anxiety, etc.  We tried it on him and it seemed to work really well.  However, a day after we started him on it, he started up with these tics again.  There was a 2 month break in between them.  He looks side to side with just his eyeballs...a lot!  He also does a jaw thrust, tightening thing, clears his throat, and breaths very strangely through his throat/nose, like a darth vador type of thing.  I am wondering if anyone has tried a supplement with L-Theanine in it and then noticed weird tics afterwards??  

post #27 of 29

we've used kids calm multi for anxiety/attention/ etc... it seems to have reduced the tics... but we also changed learning environments (changed schools) and this seems to have reduced the stress and tics ... and "attention" problems, too... (which was most likely under-stimulation plus anxiety provoking environment.  

post #28 of 29

My DS7 went through a blinking stage and a throat clearing stage. He also has mild to moderate anxiety. The tics went away, then came back, then went away. It's called a transient tics, and it's most likely not a worry. The exception, of course, is if the tics are accompanied by some out of "norm" behavioral problems, or if the tics become more pronounced and frequent. 

 

I don't call attention to the tics- in our case it made them worse. Likely, the tics will go away on their own, but don't be surprised if it crops up again. 

 

Anxiety in kids should be monitored- if it has an impact on your child's functioning or family functioning, it may be time to talk with someone. 

post #29 of 29
My 5yo has motor tics that come and go. Usually one goes on intermittently for months, and then stops and is replaced by another one. For example; jaw thrusting, touching her face in a pattern, swallowing, sniffing.
She also has a few verbal ones. The one right now is, "Are you 500?"

We're under the care of our beloved and very trusted pediatrician with regards to her anxiety and tics, and have been since she was three.
He assures us that while tics are not typical, they are within the range of normal.
He also says that most children grow out of them, and that there is no point in trying to get the child to stop the action unless it is harmful to themselves or others.

Our pediatrician also says that there are several commonly found groupings of symptoms/behaviours in children, and that's why we see lots of children diagnosed with ADHD (one set of symptoms/behaviours), or ODD (another set of symptoms/behaviours), or disordered eating in teen girls (another set of symptoms/behaviours).

He said all of this to preface what he ultimately had to say about DD and her particular 'set' of symptoms/behaviours: anxious, sensory issues, tics, exceptionally bright.
He says that's just another collection of symptoms/behaviours that is quite commonly seen together, and that often those children grow out of the troubling aspects and into their intellect, and that when it comes to suffering from a constellation of symptoms/behaviours, this is quite benign compared to most.

Nonetheless, it's troubling to me that she has tics, mostly because I can see that it sets her further apart from her peers, when she is already different enough based on her innate quirkiness and the fact that she'd rather read than roll around in a field.
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