Mindfulness-based stress reduction for Tourette Syndrome and Chronic Tic Disorder: a pilot study

J Psychosom Res. 2015 Mar;78(3):293-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.08.001. Epub 2014 Aug 10.


Objective: In this pilot study we sought to develop and test a modified form of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR-tics) for the treatment of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Chronic Tic Disorder (CTD). Our specific aims were: 1) To determine the feasibility and acceptability of an 8-week trial of MBSR-tics in individuals 16 and older with TS or CTD and 2) To determine the efficacy of an 8-week trial of MBSR-tics in individuals 16 and older with TS or CTD.

Methods: Eighteen individuals age 16-67 completed an uncontrolled open trial of MBSR-tics. The intervention consisted of 8 weekly 2-hour classes and one 4hour retreat in the fifth or sixth week of the program. Symptomatic assessments were performed at baseline, post-treatment, and one-month follow-up.

Results: MBSR-tics proved to be a feasible and acceptable intervention. It resulted in significant improvement in tic severity and tic-related impairment. 58.8% of subjects were deemed treatment responders. Therapeutic gains were maintained at 1-month follow-up. Improvements in tic severity were correlated with increases in self-reported levels of mindfulness.

Conclusions: This small open pilot study provides preliminary support for the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of MBSR-tics for individuals 16 or older with TS or CTD. A larger randomized controlled trial with blind assessment is necessary to confirm these initial, promising findings. Trial Registration Partners Clinical Trials Registry Number 2011P000606 (clinicaltrials.partners.org).

Keywords: Chronic tic disorder; Mindfulness; Psychosocial; Tourette syndrome; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Report
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Tic Disorders / psychology
  • Tic Disorders / therapy*
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome