Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Dr David Comings MD has a chapter called “Non-Prescription Medications” in his book “Tourette Syndrome and Human Behavior”. (available from in USA) He discusses:

Diet - particularly in relation to ADHD. In some children hyperactivity has been decreased by avoiding: sugar, simple carbohydrates, food preservatives, food colouring, dairy products, chocolate and tomatoes. They can be part of a standard food allergy elimination diet, or many of them have been incorporated into the Feingold diet.

Amino Acids - Dr Comings discusses the pros and cons of each of the following: tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine.

Vitamins - B6 (pyridoxine) seems to be the most important in TS. Trials were negative on B6 affecting tics, although some people believe it helps.

Amino Acids & Vitamins - Nicotinamide and tryptophan (together) may be helpful but results are mixed. Vitamin B6 and tryptophan (together) - potentially useful but untested.

Over the counter Medicines - Dr Comings reports that a few parents have found some of these medicines beneficial - others found they made no difference. I am reluctant to name the medicines - particularly as one is known to be dangerous when given to children. I strongly believe that these preparations only be used in consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable medical practitioner.

Symptom Substitution - Dr Comings writes that it is possible to eliminate a particularly unpleasant symptom by replacing it with a more acceptable one. An example given is snapping fingers instead of spitting.

Neurofeedback Training - Some studies have found that OCD participants who get real neurofeedback can see improvements much more over time after the intervention. Seeking out a qualified neurofeedback expert could be a good idea if you're looking for alternative methods to compliment your existing therapy.