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J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 November; 18(4): 357–358.
PMCID: PMC2765394

Nix Your Tics! Eliminating Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide for Young People

Reviewed by GT Swart, MD

Nix Your Tics! Eliminating Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide for Young People.
B. D. McKinlay Life’s A Twitch Publishing Company:  London, ON,  2008.  144. pp, CA$25.00. 

This is an amazing little book written for youth with tics. It is short, factual, easy to read, and enticing. Dr. McKinlay, also known as Dr. Dunc, liberally includes clinical stories, mostly related to his own life experience with severe Tourette Syndrome, to illustrate the condition and how to manage tics.

The book has four parts. The first section, titled “The “Getting Up To Speed” Stuff”, defines tics and provides a number of ways to make life easier for the person with tics. The author discusses some options for managing tics and then provides an introduction to a new evidence based behavioral therapy called Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention for Tics (CBIT) – also classically known as Habit – Reversal Training (HRT).

The second section, “The “Good Stuff” Stuff”, describes the six steps of the HRT process in great detail. The third section, “The “Stuff to Make the Good Stuff Work Even Better” Stuff”, starts with a description of what happens to the individual who undertakes HRT, including a vivid description of how initially the targeted tic seems to be much worse than before starting HRT. It is added that when a tic is eliminated, there may be a later spontaneous return, but with continued persistence in using HRT, the tic can fade away permanently. This section provides a great deal of support for the person using HRT and the people who are close to the individual using HRT. Dr. Dunc also addresses here a number of myths about HRT. The last section – “The “Back of the Book” Stuff” includes a treatment summary, a catalogue of competing responses to specific common tics, a list of resources regarding tic disorders, and some HRT exercise worksheets.

The process described on these pages may work well, but it takes a great deal of effort on the part of the individual with tics to get maximum benefit from HRT. The individual using this treatment deserves a great deal of encouragement and support from the people around them.

While the book was written for adolescents with tics, it would be useful for adults affected by tics as well. It is a “must have” book for any psychiatrist working with people who have tics.

Articles from Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry