View Full Version : Tourettes and ADHD Symptoms

04-28-13, 07:35 PM
Hey everyone. I was recently diagnosed with ADD (at age 30, so fairly late). It came after dealing with assorted mental health issues on a kind of ad hoc, confused basis. My father's side of the family has a long history of pretty severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, severe depression, suicide, addiction, etcetera. For a very long time I just assumed that it was heritable alcoholism, particularly after I had a long period of abusing alcohol. I quit drinking without medication three and a half years ago, but I was still smoking and still engaged in other dopamine-seeking behaivor (like an increased use of pseudophedrine, among other things). About a year after quitting drinking I decided that I really needed to get my act together, and that included increasing activity levels, finding some sort of way to help my focus (I thought yoga and meditation, so I started that) and quitting smoking. On that latter point, I went to see my physician, and she recommended chantix and wellbutrin.
BAM! Life changed in a kind of explosive "ah ha!" kind of way, I kicked smoking without a problem, got back into running, and no longer felt depressed or down. I was also able to focus on work more, and I did not procrastinate as much (particularly with money issues, a real problem for me up to that point). Life was good, although it wore off a bit over time and so my doctor increased my dosage and discovered I am one of those unfortunate ultrafast metabolizers. So we experimented a bit with the meds over the next year and a half, before she finally decided it was time to try the ADHD medication.

Which brings me to tourettes. I have long suspected that this might be an issue, because my nervous tics have been longstanding. In particular, I have a problem with habitual fast leg movement/leg shaking, however you want to refer to it. That's not the one that I usually associate with tourettes, however. To me, the primary tics that bring tourettes to mind are this weird eye twitching thing and the far more common and really disruptive neck/head twitch. This will come and last for a month or more at times, and then disappear and reappear.

Anyway, I brought this up to my doctor. She said it was probably stress related. I am in a pretty high stress job (attorney, litigation) and at the time that the symptoms began to reappear after a prolonged absence. I am still a little wary of the effects of the ADHD meds, though, because I initially started off on Vyvanse (which was fine...very mild, nice, helps me focus, but has no unwanted jittery effect or anything, and I sleep well on it). Unfortunately, my insurance company insists on step therapy so I had to give it up and try adderall (which is terrible) and ritalin, which was OK but not nearly as clean. Still taking wellbutrin as well, but I've dialed back the dosage to 150 (from a high at one point of 450).

Honestly, I had kind of forgotten about the tics because they appear and disappear routinely. This time I noticed them a lot more (this was a couple of months ago) and actually a friend of mine brought it up to me as well. Now, I am used to people pointing out that my legs are shaking (or just grabbing my leg or arm to stop the shaking). That has been happening since I was a little kid. But the tic thing was brought up by a friend of mine with ADHD (it has also come to my attention that three of my closest friends have been diagnosed with ADHD but not tourettes, and one I've lost contact with had both). So I endeavored to be a little more conscious of it and just blamed it on the change in medications, without giving him more info (I don't think I even told him about my diagnosis).

The other thing is that I don't have any verbal tics, but I do have to sometimes suppress socially unacceptable thoughts that pop into my head every once in a while. I kind of obsess over them and have to find a way to just kind of silently ignore them or more commonly force myself to think of something else repeatedly. Because there was no verbal tic at all, I also thought that would rule out Tourettes, but I've read some stuff that indicates "verbal tic" can include the throat clearing. If that's the case then I've had it, and also since at least adolescence.

My concern is that these tics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember but, as with the other problems, I just kind of ignored them. I am still angry at myself for not doing something about the other issues earlier, since I think that my failure to seek treatment had a detrimental impact on my life from late high school on. I guess with the tics I am worried about something along those lines, except that I am also a little hesitant to force an investigation that would require consultations with neurological specialists.

Any insight is appreciated.

03-30-14, 03:12 PM
I actually am in sort of the same situation as you. Except I'm off Adderall now (after 6 years (?) of use) and I still have "tics"? It's actually kind of on/off and habitual. ^^;

I was diagnosed at age 10 with ADD and i'm 18 now. I posted about this on this forum, so if you want, you could read my post? It might help, since I got some sort of an answer? :)

Good luck!