Evaluation of a cognitive psychophysiological model for management of tic disorders: an open trial

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Abstract

Background

Tic disorders, in particular chronic tic disorder and Tourette syndrome, affect about 1% of the population. The current treatment of choice is pharmacological or behavioural, addressing tics or the premonitory urges preceding tic onset.

Aims

The current study reports an open trial evaluating the effectiveness of a cognitive psychophysiological treatment addressing Tourette-specific sensorimotor activation processes rather than the tic.

Method

Forty-nine people with Tourette syndrome and 36 people with chronic tics completed 10 weeks of individual cognitive psychophysiological therapy. Outcome measures included two tic severity scales and psychosocial measures.

Results

Post-treatment both groups had significantly improved on the tic scales with strong effect sizes across tic locations and complex and simple tics, maintained at 6-month follow-up with further change in perfectionism and self-esteem.

Conclusions

The cognitive psychophysiological approach targeting underlying sensorimotor processes rather than tics in Tourette's and chronic tic disorder reduced symptoms with a large effect size.

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