Clinical Characteristics of Children and Adolescents with a Primary Tic Disorder

  • Matt W. Specht
  • Douglas W. Woods
  • John Piacentini
  • Lawrence Scahill
  • Sabine Wilhelm
  • Alan L. Peterson
  • Susanna Chang
  • Hayden Kepley
  • Thilo Deckersbach
  • Christopher Flessner
  • Brian A. Buzzella
  • Joseph F. McGuire
  • Sue Levi-Pearl
  • John T. Walkup
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10882-010-9223-z

Cite this article as:
Specht, M.W., Woods, D.W., Piacentini, J. et al. J Dev Phys Disabil (2011) 23: 15. doi:10.1007/s10882-010-9223-z

Abstract

The clinical characteristics and rates of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in youth seeking treatment for a chronic tic disorder (CTD) were examined. Children and adolescents (N = 126) with a primary CTD diagnosis were recruited for a randomized controlled treatment trial. An expert clinician established diagnostic status via semi-structured interview. Participants were male (78.6%), Caucasians (84.9%), mean age 11.7 years (SD = 2.3) with moderate-to-severe tics who met criteria for Tourette’s disorder (93.7%). Common co-occurring conditions included attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 26%), social phobia (21%), generalized anxiety disorder (20%), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD; 19%). Motor and vocal tics with greater intensity, complexity, and interference were associated with increased impairment. Youth with a CTD seeking treatment for tics should be evaluated for non-OCD anxiety disorders in addition to ADHD and OCD. Despite the presence of co-occurring conditions, children with more forceful, complex, and/or directly interfering tics may seek treatment to reduce tic severity.

Keywords

Tourette’s disorder Tics Comorbid Anxiety Impairment 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt W. Specht
    • 1
  • Douglas W. Woods
    • 2
  • John Piacentini
    • 3
  • Lawrence Scahill
    • 4
  • Sabine Wilhelm
    • 5
  • Alan L. Peterson
    • 6
  • Susanna Chang
    • 3
  • Hayden Kepley
    • 1
    • 8
  • Thilo Deckersbach
    • 5
  • Christopher Flessner
    • 2
    • 9
  • Brian A. Buzzella
    • 3
    • 10
  • Joseph F. McGuire
    • 4
    • 11
  • Sue Levi-Pearl
    • 7
  • John T. Walkup
    • 1
    • 12
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin—MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUCLA Neuropsychiartic HospitalLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Yale School of Nursing and Child Study CenterYale University School of NursingNew HavenUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychiartyUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  7. 7.Tourette Syndrome AssociationBaysideUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina-WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  9. 9.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryBrown Medical SchoolProvidenceUSA
  10. 10.Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  11. 11.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  12. 12.Department of PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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