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Remedies for Nervous Tics in Teenagers

by Kimberly Wilson

A repetitive movement, known as a tic, cannot be easily suppressed. Up to 25 percent of teens are affected with transient tic disorder before the age of 18, according to TeensHealth. Transient tics last for a few months and stop, but another tic might begin. No cure exists for tics, but the problem often disappears over time. In the meantime, stress reduction, patience and sometimes therapy can help.

Keep the Focus Off Tics

Focusing on the tics tends to make them worse, so parents should not call attention to the tics. Your teen realizes it happens, and when someone calls attention to it, the tic can get worse, according to TeensHealth. Let your teen know he shouldn't try to suppress tics because the concentration required to quash the tic can cause mental fatigue, which itself can, contribute to additional problems such as poor concentration in school.

Supportive Family

An important aspect of tic management is a supportive family that encourages an environment where the teen can talk with parents and work out strategies for the specific circumstance. Parents and teens should let others including teachers at school know that they have tics. Explain to people that the teen is not doing it on purpose and stress that tics are not a sign of mental or physical illness and often go away on their own.

Therapy

Habit reversal therapy has shown some lasting success in patients, according to the Movement Disorder Society. The therapy starts with awareness as the therapist instructs teens to identify and name each tic out loud. Then, the patient and therapist devise a competing response. The competing response consists of some behavior that cannot be performed at the same time as the tic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses the example of placing the hands on the knees as the competing response for a tic involving head rubbing.

Stress Reduction

Stress reduction can help lessen the frequency of tics. Encourage your teen to take good care of herself by exercising and eating right and avoiding caffeine, illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Help your teenager build time into his schedule for relaxation such as listening to music, playing with pets or chatting with friends. Other ways of reducing stress include, breaking complex tasks into small steps, learning muscle relaxation techniques and making a network of helpful friends.

About the Author

Kimberly Wilson has been a freelancer since 2009. She also works as a marketing and sales professional. Wilson specializes in mental heath and wellness articles for various websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Syracuse University.

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