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A Case of Tourette’s Syndrome by Patricia Cardona

A Case of Tourette’s Syndrome by Patricia Cardona

While visiting my family in Colombia, I was asked to take the case of a 15-year-old boy suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome. Although he had begun showing various tics at the age of 3, one of his current tics—was biting his tongue uncontrollably. It was so severe, he had to be hospitalized a few times. When SE came in, he was holding a rag to his tongue to stop the bleeding. He had some difficulty speaking since he was in terrible pain and still compulsively biting. Although he had been taking Risperidone and Fluoxetine for 5 years to help with the tics, these medications were not preventing his tongue biting.

In the past, he had also exhibited lip smacking, screaming, arm lifting, and picking at his clothes. During the consultation, I was able to observe grimacing, blinking as well as biting his tongue, and crying out in pain. I asked him if he could explain the sensation he got when he bit his tongue and he said he would get an uncontrollable urge to bite down and he could not stop himself, even though he knew it would be painful. He also told me his tongue would sometimes move uncontrollably. SE’s mother accompanied him and she explained that he often went through phases of different tics that would last for about 15 days, and then switch to other tics. However, it had been over a month since he began his tongue biting and it had not stopped since.

SE was also presenting with chronic rhinitis that had begun about two years prior and therefore was on an antihistamine. He said he always felt congested. As we went through the case, his mother explained he had excessive perspiration on his head, hands, and feet. SE did not have any bottom lashes, as one of his previous tics had been constantly rubbing his eyes until he lost them. SE had ear infections as a child and even now could develop one if he stayed in a pool too long—he loved to be in the water. He was born with a preauricular pit on his left ear that could fill with a fetid discharge.

His mother said he loved sweets and had a voracious appetite. However, that could have been a side effect of the antidepressant. Nevertheless, SE told me he did not feel the urge to bite his tongue while eating, nor did he bite it in his sleep. Therefore, I chose to conclude he was better while eating and sleeping.

SE slept on his stomach in a cool room without a blanket. He was known to snore and speak during his sleep. As a younger child, he suffered from nightmares and night terrors. Both he and his mother described SE as an anxious, obsessive, fearful person who worried a lot. He would develop great anticipatory anxiety from exams, special events, and the knowledge someone was coming to visit.

I asked if something had occurred before the onset of his latest tic and his mother said the tongue-biting began shortly after his mother and father finalized their divorce. Although they had been separated since SE was 6, the divorce had been a recent event. When I asked SE about the situation, he became quite sad.

After analyzing the case, I chose the remedy Stramonium for SE. Although it did not have the rage and violence that is described in many Materia Medicas, his tongue biting was quite a violent act. When he bit down on his tongue it was a fierce and convulsive-like act and he looked both terrified and excruciated as he did so. This, along with several symptoms included above, led me to choose Stramonium. I knew I needed to pick a remedy that embodied the intensity with which this tic was manifesting as well as his deep fear and anxiety. I gave him Stramonium 200C. He was instructed to take three dry doses of the remedy every 20 minutes, and then to create a liquid potency that he could sip each time he had the urge to bite his tongue. I prescribed these first three doses like I would for an acute condition; because I needed him to stop biting his tongue as soon as possible. Then we switched to liquid; because he would most likely need to take many doses.

About 30 minutes after they left, I received a phone call from his mother that he had stopped biting his tongue 10 minutes after taking the remedy. This was a promising result and she was instructed to follow up one week later. Because this tic was so destructive, I was quite concerned for his well-being. After one week, SE stated the tongue biting was 80% better. The frequency had greatly diminished and at the first urge to bite he would take a sip of the remedy, which would stop it. He also reported his congestion was still there, but now there was a clear, viscid fluid flowing, whereas before the nose was just completely stopped up. I believe this was a good sign of illness moving from inward to outward. His excessive perspiration improved by 65% and his spirits were great. He was more social and talkative at school and I advised him to begin participating in activities again that he had stopped because of the tongue biting.

SE’s mother followed up again one month later and he had improved even more. The tongue-biting was almost completely gone and his other tics had also improved remarkably. As the congestion improved, he eventually came off the antihistamine. I advised the mother to go back to his doctor and re-assess his medications.

Unfortunately, as SE improved, his mother did not follow up with me. However, about 1 year later, I was told he was no longer on medication and he was thriving. Once he came off the Risperidone and Fluoxetine, his appetite also became regulated and he naturally lost some weight. 

While it is difficult to attribute all of SE’s improvements to the remedy, since his mother did not continue to follow up, I do believe Stramonium was a catalyst to SE’s healing. It is yet another testament to the remarkable power of Homeopathy and a reminder of the significant work we do as Homeopaths.