Un-ignorable tics/stims (loud coughing/throat clearing) - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-31-2008, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has recently started coughing/clearing his throat extremely loudly. He does it every 2 min or so, all day long. It has been going on for about three weeks, and has become progressively more frequent. I had tics as a child (I have OCD but the main manifestation of it as an adult, for me, is not tics but intrusive, repetitive thoughts) and I talked to him about how to take a deep breath to relax and maybe you won't feel like doing it anymore. Finally, I was afraid he would irritate his throat, the sound was so forceful. And to be honest, it was getting a little irritating. So, I did something that I feel a little bad about, but it seems to have gotten rid of it.

I told him that I was giving him a vitamin to help him not do it as much. I bought a new color vitamin (he normally takes the purple grape Multi-Bites from GNC so I bought pink fruit punch). He took one and within a few min he was not doing it anymore. The next morning, he didn't do it either.

Then this evening, he had set up all his miniature animals on a table, in a precise way, and my husband accidentally hit the table and a few fell down. He immediately broke down screaming and crying. Soon after, he started doing the cough thing again. He did it all evening until I gave him his vitamin, and then he stopped again.

(FTR he does not have a diagnosis yet. We have heard suggestions that it's Asperger's, ADHD, OCD, and SPD. He is going to start seeing a child psychologist on Aug. 18 and is going to have psychological testing for ADHD in Oct.)

I feel bad lying to him, and teaching him that a pill is the answer, but I remember how annoying tics were to me as a child, and I didn't know how to handle it any other way. Has anyone experienced anything similar, and do you have any advice? Thanks so much!
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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My son has Tourette's, and has had a number of vocal (and motor, but the vocal are more annoying lol) tics. The worst one was when I was pregnant with the baby and sick as a dog, he would make a gagging noise, like a cat barfing up a hairball. Made me absolutely green. :Puke

Anyway, we work with him on those tics that are difficult for us to live with. We try to get at what sensation he is feeling that the tic relieves, and see if he can substitute another similar feeling for it. So that instead of coughing hard, he just clears his throat or sniffs. This takes lots of reminders until the new tic is the habitual one, sometimes -- often he's not aware that he's doing it, so he needs a reminder. Other times we just tell him that while we understand he needs to tic, what he is doing is disturbing others and he needs to go be alone and do it. We try to be gentle and understanding about it, because we know that it isnt in his control and that he would stop it if he could. We also do our best to keep his routine and so on to keep the stress levels down, because he definitely is worse under pressure, but when just going about your daily life is stressful, that's only so successful. Poor kiddo.

I don't see why you feel bad about the vitamin thing -- but maybe that's because we do, actually, give a "real" pill to make the tics stop. lol Why not use the placebo affect to your advantage if it works? I dont see the harm -- but I'd also start having conversations about what the ticcing is doing for him and if he is aware of it. It may be that he can steer those actions towards something less socially challenging, or that he can verbalize why he does it.

On a tangent, have you read Passing for Normal by Amy Wilensky? She has OCD and Tourette's and the book was very compelling (though I also found it very difficult emotionally). You might be interested with your history and your son's.
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