Meagan SpencerFreed-Hardeman University, USA
Title: Effects of emotional support animals on Tourette Syndrome: A case study
Purpose: Tourette Syndrome is a psychosomatic disease that is characterized by motor and vocal tics, impulsivity, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Billnitzer & Jankovic, 2020; Pringsheim et al., 2019). Patients with Tourette Syndrome have difficulty maintaining quality of life due to these motor or vocal tics; therefore, a review of current interventions and new intervention is needed for clinicians and patients to choose the best interventions for their specific situation. This case study looks at the effects of a service animal on the frequency and length of vocal tics in a patient with Tourette Syndrome.
Methods: Evidence-based practice in this case includes client perspectives, clinical expertise, and the literature supporting a service animal as a compensatory strategy when trained appropriately. The methods used in this case study include qualitative observation and patient reporting. Results: Patient X has reported less vocalic tics when the service dog is within the vicinity and can cue her kinesthetically. The reduction of vocalic tics has ultimately resulted in an improved quality of life according to the patient (Levine et al., 2013; Sikstrom et al., 2020; Stapleton, 2016).
Conclusion: The research supporting service dogs in neurological disease is evident in the literature and is a safe nonpharmacologic intervention that supports other interventions with the patient (Levine et al., 2013; Sikstrom et al., 2020; Stapleton, 2016). In the case of Patient X, there are very clear benefits to having a service dog.