Behavioral Comorbidities Cause Havoc in Tourette Syndrome. (Tics Often Mild in Comparison)

Article excerpt

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Comorbid conditions often pose bigger problems for children with Tourette syndrome than the condition itself, Dr. John Walkup said at a conference sponsored by the Tourette Syndrome Association.

Comorbid conditions accompanying Tourette syndrome include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar affective disorder, anxiety, pervasive developmental disorder, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, personality disorders, and family problems.

Given that reality, it's important to evaluate children with Tourette syndrome (TS) with comorbid conditions in mind. "When you look at youngsters who have Tourette syndrome, it's probably best to look at them in terms of all the different problem areas that they have, identify what those are, and then apply specific treatments to all those different problem areas." said Dr. Walkup of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore.

Once the child's problems. have been identified, physicians should develop a hierarchy on the basis of the impact each problem has in the child's daily life. Comorbid conditions should then be treated using that hierarchy, he said.

Dr. Walkup ranks OCD and mood disorders first among comorbid conditions that can have a huge impact because they account for the most impairment, followed by anxiety disorders and ADHD.

"I don't know too many people who have bad OCD, bad anxiety, and bad depression who are functioning at a very high level," Dr. …