Causes and Natural Treatments for Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome

Causes and Natural Treatments for Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome (commonly referred to simply as Tourette’s) is a nervous system disorder that causes tics. These tics are unwanted movements or sounds that are hard, sometimes even impossible, to control. According to the Mayo Clinic, males are about 3-4 times more likely than females to develop Tourette’s. 

The tics are either motor (movement tics) or auditory (vocal tics). They can be complex or simple. Eye blinking is an example of simple movement tics, while obscene gestures are considered complex movement tics. Grunting and throat clearing are simple vocal tics while repeating one’s own words or phrases and swearing are examples of complex vocal tics. 

Underlying Causes for Tourette Syndrome

The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn’t known. It’s a complex disorder, most likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with Tourette syndrome are usually between 5 and 10 years old when the first symptoms make themselves known. They come and go over time, varying in frequency, severity, and type of tic. Motor tics often occur before vocal tics, according to a Tourette syndrome fact sheet published by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The NINDS says simple tics usually precede complex tics. 

Tics might be triggered with excitement and anxiety, but can typically be well-managed when the person is calm, focused, and relaxed. Physical experiences can trigger tics, and people with Tourette’s might “absorb” other people’s actions and tics. For example, a tight collar could trigger a neck tic. While hearing someone cough or sneeze could trigger a vocal tic mimicking those sounds. Tics go away completely in a deep sleep but often lessen during light sleep. 

When diagnosing Tourette syndrome, doctors look for a few things: both motor and vocal tics happening several times per day for at least one year, tics presenting before the patient turns 18, and whether or not the tics could be caused by medications, other medical conditions, or other substances. Once those three criteria have been met, the doctor can usually proceed with a Tourette’s diagnosis. 

Natural Treatments for Tourette Syndrome

There’s no cure for Tourette syndrome. But, the condition can be managed with certain therapies and treatments. Some people with Tourette syndrome don’t need treatment because their tics don’t interfere with their daily life. In other cases, symptoms might get worse as the patient gets older. Those who can’t live a normal life should seek treatment to help manage their Tourette syndrome. 

Traditional treatments involve medication, including dopamine blockers and antidepressants. There’s nothing wrong with seeking traditional medication, but some people seek natural treatments or don’t like the side effects that come with prescription medication, and seek additional alternative therapies to help manage Tourette syndrome.

Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis

There is plenty of research pointing to medical marijuana’s potential to help people with Tourette syndrome. Not only does cannabis help suppress the tics, but it can help manage other mental health conditions that often come with having Tourrette’s. ADHD, OCD, anxiety, trouble falling asleep, behavioral issues, and learning issues are among the most common co-occurring conditions alongside Tourette syndrome and might be managed with a proper cannabis regimen. If you take medication, please consult with a doctor before introducing cannabis into your routine. 

Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular. Some states even allow medical marijuana patients from other states to utilize their program as a visitor. Tourette’s patients living in states without a medical marijuana program should consider trying hemp-derived CBD to manage tics. Explore Heally’s online marketplace to find the best CBD products for you.

More research is required before cannabis can be prescribed as a mainstream treatment, but those Tourette’s patients living in a state with an active medical marijuana program should consider cannabis as an option. 

Healthy Diet

No Caffeine

There’s not a single “Tourette’s diet” that will help manage tics. Diets are very individual to each person and depend on your body’s needs. That’s especially true with a complex condition like Tourette syndrome. Parents of children with Tourette’s have said certain allergens can exacerbate certain symptoms, according to the Journal of Child Health Care

Caffeine, refined sugar, and artificial food dyes are a few of those allergens, and avoiding them may help alleviate some symptoms.



Yoga might help improve tics through mindful relaxation. The same is true for meditation and other focused activities designed to encourage a peaceful experience. Psychological stress has been known to exacerbate tics, so introducing a practice like yoga can be a great way to relieve some of that stress. 

This review analyzed three original studies, all of which showed tics to improve after implementing yoga. 


Some research points to a link between magnesium deficiency and Tourette syndrome. Magnesium is a crucial mineral our body needs. It helps support our muscles and energy production. Low levels of magnesium can present problems in the body, and some people think tics can exacerbate it. 

Talk to a Holistic Doctor

Interested in trying medical marijuana for Tourette’s? Or another alternative treatment? Heally’s online network of holistic doctors can help.  Heally believes in treating the root cause, not just the symptoms. To make an appointment, fill out our contact form and we can connect you with an alternative health professional.

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