Female, 7 years old
West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue: Tourette's Syndrome, Tics, Depression, ADHD, Anxiety
Each time I sat in the stands with other soccer moms, I knew what they were thinking: "Geez, why did Taylor miss that ball by a mile? What does she think she's doing, running straight into that girl? Why is she constantly shaking her head?"
I couldn't have cared less how the game turned out. I just wished with all my heart that my beautiful 8-year-old daughtercould see the field and ball 100 percent of the time, wished she didn't have Tourette's Syndrome; wished her eyes didn'troll back in her head — hundreds of times a day. Taylor had a passion for soccer and my husband Brian and I supported her dream. But truth be told, I dreaded the games.
Taylor's tics started in September 2007. We were soon dealing with the frightening eye rolls. Her eyes went up and back into her head and stayed there for several seconds at a time. She shook her head (much like a dog does to get water off) until her neck was physically hurting her. And with sudden flailing of her arms, we've watched many an object fly off the kitchen table. I was so worried about the eye rolls that I videotaped her for the pediatric psychologist to be sure they weren't seizures. They weren't.
Along with the tics (and equally debilitating) were mood swings with significant depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and an overriding sense of anxiety. Taylor clung to me in public and had full-blown, screaming-lie-on-the-floor-meltdowns at home. In a nutshell, life was miserable for her, and as parents we grieved for her and felt the strain.
We decided to face things head on with an integrative approach. We took Taylor to psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists, locally and at leading Children's Hospitals. She had an EEG, MRI, neuropsychological evaluation, vials of blood drawn: all to receive diagnoses of ADHD, Tourette's, depression and an anxiety disorder. A number of medications were tried over time, including Clonidine, Abilify, and Risperdal. None of them worked and the side-effects were a serious concern. Taylor was still ticcing with a vengeance. One of her now 15 doctors suggested we consider neurofeedback as an additional therapy.
That's when life began to change.
Nine months ago we all headed to the Los Angeles area for neurofeedback sessions conducted by a national expert. At this point, Taylor had been on 2.25 mg/day of Klonopin for five months for her anxiety. The trip was costly, but we saw an improvement and I'm glad we went. After the neurofeedback sessions, Taylor was able to reduce her Klonopin to 1.5 mg/ day and her tics were reduced in severity and frequency. We rented a machine to continue sessions at home, but to our disappointment, Taylor's progress reached a plateau.
She managed to keep the gains she had made, but significant tics remained and the depression and anxiety were still a problem. We couldn't seem to break through to the next level. Taylor began third grade the day before her ninth birthday, and no longer had meltdowns about school, but she still had to work twice as hard as the next kid.Then life took another major turn. My brother, Pete, a recovering alcoholic, announced that he had learned of Brain State Technologies, a type of brain training that has helped many people overcome addiction. He flew from Florida to Scottsdale, Arizona, for sessions, and came back a changed person. He said his desire for alcohol was simply gone. While there, he learned that the program was being used for people with a range of symptoms, including ones Taylor had.
We were eager to try, but couldn't afford to fly to Scottsdale – either time-wise or moneywise. The answer? Brian and Pete decided to fly out to the Brain State headquarters in Scottsdale,take training classes, and bring the equipment back for Taylor.
The results have been very exciting. After 30 sessions, Taylor's tics were reduced by 90 percent. Her anxiety? Gone. Her depression? Gone. And she's getting As and Bs in school. Needless to say, we are thrilled. It's been a long haul. But I can now watch Taylor on the soccer field without a knot in my stomach!
Editor's Note: Brian and Pete were so impressed with the effectiveness of Brain State Technologies that they have opened an office in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
- Excerpted from actual client comments