Childhood Mental Ailments Targeted With New Treatments

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The causes which underlie childhood obsessive compulsive disorder along with Tourette’s are to be targeted by new treatment options.

To date there have been many similarities in how these two disorders have been treated, pertaining to their sharing of similarities in their psychiatric features, the genetic factors inherent, and the environment in which they present themselves.

But more effective treatments are now being put forward.

The Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology is a peer-reviewed journal that in its latest issue contains the new ideas. The Guest Editor, one Barbara J. Coffey, MD, MS concludes that “studies are still few, and validated predictors, moderators and mediators of treatment response are still very much needed.”


Promise has been shown for the treatment of the conditions by Riluzole, a drug used for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is evidential from clinical trials taking place that it can also be used for treatment of OCD in children, however there is further study needed to access the side effects. The potential of this drug being used in this way is outlined by Jane Song, Paul Grant, and Susan Swedo of the National Institute of Mental Health as, being of potential benefit in helping to control the symptoms of OCD.


This benefit is possible based on Riluzole’s ability to block the releasing of glutamate from nerve cells. It has been used at therapeutic doses, yet there have been instances of pancreatitis in children to date as a side effect of use, which is causing concern obviously.

Tourette’s Breakthrough

The vocal tics associate with Tourette’s have undergone new study too, with the avenue of new treatments the goal. It has been determined that these vocal tics occur because of how neural networks, brain circuits, and chemical neurotransmitters behave in the affected person.

Brain Images

It is now expected that new brain scanning technology will help to find a better treatment allowing for more specific targeting of brain regions as can be pin pointed through the brain imaging.

Infectious Disease Onset

It is also being discussed in this new edition of the journal how infectious diseases may lead to the onset of such conditions, with Streptococcus becoming increasingly linked with certain Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders.

There is a push given for the link between infectious diseases and these conditions to be further explored, and a panel of experts setup for the exploration of new treatments based on the infectious disease mechanism.


Tourette’s syndrome affects the brain. It is mainly evident in its causing movements outside of the control of the individual and leading to the development of nervous tics. In milder cases it is less likely that the condition will ever be diagnosed.

In the main if Tourette’s is to present itself in the individual then it will do so when the child is quite young, usually between the ages of five and seven years old.


There are new behaviour therapies for Tourette’s increasingly becoming available. These can be in the restraining therapy form, which can serve to counter the nervous tic associated with the condition.

Exposure and response therapy is another method of treatment which has the same function. Talking therapy has been found to deal with the condition also. Here it is evident that just talking through the condition with a psychotherapist, may lead to the individuals’ ability to cope with their condition.

The bulk of the medicines currently in use to better the condition are along the lines of neuroleptics, they do however come with certain side effects which may leave the individual having a ‘jerk’ response giving the illusion that the condition is getting worse and not better. This is only at first however and the condition will become less severe with time.

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