"She is probably not thinking 'biscuit' all the time," said Mink, who does not treat Thom. "It's kind of an urge of need to do it. A lot of people say it's like an itch that needs to be scratched."
Dr. Mink said that one in 100 children suffer from Tourette which is often linked genetically. He also noted that in addition to Tourette, patients can suffer from attention deficit hyperactive disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
"The majority of kids, even those bad enough to seek treatment, are likely to have their tics diminish or go away," Mink said.
Even though habit reversal therapy and antidepressants have been used to treat disorders and tics, Thom said that it has not worked for her.
"I tried instead of banging my chest to try to stretch my arm out, but it didn't work for me," she said.
She also tried taking medications but they only produced unwanted side effects. Instead, she only takes muscle relaxants.
Thom described her physical tics as “a bit like suddenly being wrenched from the inside or as if someone's put itching powder in my blood."
Although she lives with a roommate she still finds herself at risk of danger. Thom recently fell in the shower and has been bound to a wheelchair.
Despite her struggle, Thom finds solace and self-acceptance in writing.
"For I long time, I struggled — if I just tried a little harder or concentrated more, I could catch that tic," she said. "I look at a close friend [who has Tourette syndrome] and I can see her tic and recognize that feeling in my body and how it looks from the outside. Never for a moment do I expect her to control that, so I am more patient with myself."