Dr. Phil: 12-Year-Old With Tourette Syndrome
Dr. Phil talked to Amy and her husband Chris, whose 12-year-old daughter Sarah suffers from a severe case of Tourette Syndrome, where she is a danger both to herself and others. She is completely unable to control her body. We’re talking grunts, curses, and screams, as well as uncontrollable punches, jumps, and kicks.
She’s been diagnosed since she was 2 years old. When she has jumping tics, she’ll fall down no matter where she is. “Her feet are constantly bleeding, along with her knees. She’ll do things with her arms. If you’re in the way, you’re gonna get hit,” Amy said.
Sarah will also do headbanging and bang into anything around her, a wall, the TV, the kitchen sink. Amy said that both her and her husband have bruises on their legs from Sarah hitting them. In third grade, she missed two months of school due to a tic that made her bark like a dog. This past year, she missed so much school that she has to repeat sixth grade again.
Amy said she’s terrified that her daughter will take her own life.
Dr. Phil: Dealing With The Tics
In the studio, Amy told Dr. Phil that sometimes she and her husband talk about how they wish they’d never had children because of this. They said they’ve tried everything for Sarah. They’ve been in and out of different hospitals. They’ve had different therapies, all kinds of medicine, and in and out of different hospitals.
On the plane on the way to Los Angeles, Sarah developed a new tic, where she throws her head back all of a sudden. Dr. Phil said that oftentimes, stress and anxiety can exacerbate the expression of the tics and involuntary movements. Amy said that she thought Sarah was really stressed and anxious to come on the show because she’s heard there would be help so many times, only for nothing to actually help her. Amy said Sarah was tired of being let down.
Amy said a typical day in the life began with Sarah ticking, unless Sarah has been ticking through the night. For the last year, she’s had a jumping tic where she’ll fall down on the ground, regardless of what’s below her, including cement.
Dr. Phil: What Happens If There’s Weapons Around?
Dr. Phil showed shocking pictures where both of Amy’s eyes were swollen from the constant headbanging against objects around her.
When the tics start, they can last for up to an hour. Dr. Phil asked what happens if there’s a weapon around, like a steak knife. Chris said you get hit with it. Amy said they’d been stabbed before with forks and mechanical pencils. She stabbed her own eye once, so she eats with a spoon.