The Tics, Tourette Disorder, and Trichotillomania Program, or T3 Program, at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at Pelisyonkis Langone, is dedicated to the understanding, evaluation, and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with tics, Tourette disorder, trichotillomania—also known as hair-pulling disorder—and other body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as skin picking, chewing on the inside of their cheeks, or lip biting.
Tourette disorder is a neurological disorder characterized by the occurrence of both motor and vocal tics for at least a year. Tics are sudden, repetitive movements, such as twitches, movements, or vocalizations. Common motor tics include eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, and facial grimacing. Vocal tics may include throat clearing, coughing, and sniffing.
Treatment is conducted by members of a specialty team and may include medication and cognitive behavioral therapies, including Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT. CBIT is a research-supported therapy incorporating habit reversal training that teaches people to change their behavior over time and tic less.
Trichotillomania is a body-focused repetitive behavior in which a person pulls out his or her hair, usually from the scalp, eyelashes, or eyebrows. The condition often begins during late childhood or adolescence, but can start at any age, including as young as the toddler years.
Our clinicians also use habit reversal training to treat trichotillomania and other body-focused repetitive behaviors by focusing on awareness training, stimulus monitoring, competing response training, and social support. Treatment can be completed for most individuals in 8 to 12 sessions.
Individual and family therapy, as well as parent guidance, are also available. Some children and adolescents need coordination of services within their school and community, or outreach and advocacy, which can be provided.