Stony Brook Center for Tics and Tourette's Disorder

The Stony Brook Center for Tics and Tourette's Disorder is the first center of its kind in Suffolk County.

In addition to the information provided below, we invite you to watch our livestream video, "A Conversation about Tics and Tourette's," featuring our Center's Director, Carine Maurer, MD, PhD, and our Co-Director, Jenna Palladino, PsyD. 

What are Tics?
Tics are sudden, rapid, recurrent involuntary movements or sounds that typically begin during childhood — often around the ages of four to six. Occasional or isolated tics are common among school-aged children, with about 15 percent of children experiencing tics at some point. When multiple tics are present for more than a year, it’s considered a chronic tic disorder. Though less common, chronic tic disorder may impact both children as well as adults and can cause significant distress and other impairments.

What is Tourette’s Disorder?
Tourette's disorder is a type of tic disorder in which multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic persist for at least 12 months. Motor tics often begin in the head and neck area, and can include eye blinking, nose movements, grimacing and shoulder shrugging. However, any part of the body can be involved, including the arms and the legs. Verbal tics can range from sniffing and throat-clearing to repeating syllables, words, or sentences.

People with chronic tic disorders, such as Tourette's disorder, may also have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or OCD-like symptoms. These can include needing to touch objects in a particular way, or performing actions repeatedly until a sense of peace is obtained. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is also common in people with tic disorders. Anxiety or mood symptoms, autism, and/or social or learning problems may also be present.

Treatment Approaches
Treatment varies from person to person. At the Stony Brook Center for Tics and Tourette's Disorder, we provide a comprehensive evaluation to devise a developmentally appropriate treatment plan to address tics that interfere with one’s life.

Depending on your condition, treatment may include: 

Your tailored treatment plan may include: 

  • Education about tics and Tourette's disorder
  • Management of neurological symptoms using medication
  • Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) 
  • Botulinum toxin injections
  • Management of co-occurring disorders such as:
    • Mild to moderate obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Attention-deficit/ hyperactive disorder
    • Mood disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Behavioral concerns
    • Learning disorders

For more information about our Stony Brook Center for Tics and Tourette's Disorder,
call Erin Harabes, LMHC, at (631) 444-3448.