Tourette Syndrome (TS): Other Conditions a Child May Have

A child with Tourette syndrome (TS) often has other conditions related to TS. He or she may have ADHD or OCD. He or she may have a hard time with social relationships. Your child may have sleep problems and weight gain, and show signs of anxiety and depression. Below are ways you can help you identify and manage these conditions.

Conditions that can occur in a child with TS

A child with Tourette syndrome may often have one or more other conditions. The most common are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Your child may have trouble focusing and paying attention. He or she may be hyperactive. And your child may have problems with impulse control. This means not having control over doing or saying something right away.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Your child may have repeated thoughts that cause stress. These are obsessive thoughts. And he or she may then do repeated behaviors to help try to calm the thoughts. These are compulsive behaviors.

A child may also have:

  • Anxiety. Your child may worry a lot or have a lot of fears. He or she may be very shy. And your child may be more upset when away from loved ones (separation anxiety).

  • Depression. Your child may have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lose interest in friends, school, or hobbies.

  • Learning disabilities. Your child may struggle with reading or remembering information. This does not mean your child is not intelligent.

  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Your child may show a lot of anger and act out in ways that upset other people.

  • Sensory processing problems. Your child may have strong reactions to touch, smell, sound, and taste. This can cause stress and other problems with daily living.

  • Sleep problems. Your child may have trouble falling or staying asleep. He or she may sleep walk or talk during sleep. Your child may wet the bed.

  • Social problems. Your child may have trouble with social skills and making friends. He or she may struggle in relationships with friends, family, teachers, and other people.

  • Weight gain. This can happen due to some medicines used to treat Tourette. It can also happen from lack of physical activity due to problems such as depression or sleep problems.

Being assessed for conditions

Talk with your child’s healthcare provider if your child shows signs of any of the above conditions. He or she can be tested for certain issues, such as OCD or ADHD. Your child can also be tested for learning problems. Diagnosing other problems may rely on talking with you, your child’s teachers, and other family members about behaviors. Your child may have assessment tests, have a sleep study, or take other tests.

Managing TS-related conditions

Each of these problems is managed in various ways. This may include medicine, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and active support from family and friends. A counselor may help your child and your family. Your child can learn ways to change behavior, and learn social skills. Your child may also need special help in school.

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