The Robin McGraw Revelation and Dr. Phil Foundation
Dr. Phil asks Craig and Amy about their decision to have children, despite the hereditary nature of the disorder. “How do you feel about a one in four chance that you’re going to bring a child into the world that has to live with that experience?”
Craig replies, “You know, the way I look at it is that I’ve obviously had a hard time with it through my life. On a daily basis, it’s hard to live with that sort of thing, with the altercations, the pointing, the laughing, the whatever, the lack of respect for something that someone has no control over. But I’ve never once in my life been sorry I was born. Tourette’s aside, I’ve had a great life. I come from a great family. I’ve got a great group of friends. Amy’s family is great. Everything’s good except for that. So I wouldn’t take away someone else’s opportunity to have a great life. We would be great parents, I think. And like Amy said once, if we have kids, they’ll be beautiful, they’ll be smart and they’ll tic.” He shrugs casually.
“Maybe, and then maybe not,” says Dr. Phil about the disorder.
“How are you doing now? Since you’ve been here, you have not had any major ticking.”
“No, I haven’t. It’s interesting, Tourette’s, they say, is hard to diagnose with a lot of people because you can tic all day long at home, at work and the moment you’re on a couch in front of a doctor, when you’re under that magnifying glass — see, it’s like right here, for some reason. I’m comfortable enough; I’m not ticking. We should hang out more often.”
“I just have that affect on people. I don’t know what it is,” says Dr. Phil. He and Craig laugh. “What is comfortable for you about this situation? Because you’re in front of an audience. You’re talking to me.”
“Well, it’s very normal. We’re always in front of an audience,” Amy jokes. “People are always looking at us.”
Craig joins in. “Yeah, I’m used to the audience. I don’t know. I’m comfortable because I think I’m doing a good thing. I want to spread public awareness about this. I think there needs to be an understanding about what it is so that people have a respect for it. I understand at a first glance it’s somewhat humorous and funny a little bit maybe, especially when it’s portrayed in movies and on TV, which I’ve seen. And I laugh at that stuff too, but in real life, it can be hurtful, and there just needs to be a little bit more respect for people who have it.”
Dr. Phil asks Craig if he understands what blacks who don’t know him must think when they hear him shout the N-word, and why it would make them uncomfortable.
“Absolutely, and that makes me feel very uncomfortable too, because I don’t want to make anybody feel unsafe. If I’ve got a black neighbor that hears that coming from my apartment, from my house, whatever, the last thing I want is for them to feel, ‘I’m not safe in my own home,’ kind of thing. ‘We’ve got somebody like that living next door.’ Because that’s not what I am. And I think if that were to ever happen, I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself and explain it and hope they would understand.”
Dr. Phil reintroduces Dr. Greg Hipskind from Brain Matters, Inc. who has advanced expertise in brain-based disorders. As he did previously, Dr. Phil turns to a large screen displaying computerized images of two brains. The images are identical, except for their coloration. He asks Dr. Hipskind to explain their differences.
“The brain on the left, Dr. Phil, is a normal brain,” says Dr. Hipskind, “and we’re looking at basically blood flow, and the yellowish colors represent normal blood flow or normal brain activity. And on the right is the same section at the same level of the brain of a patient with Tourette syndrome, and the red areas represent areas of increased activity, increased blood flow.”
“So, you’ve got increased blood flow and that correlates with increased activity,” Dr. Phil Clarifies. “So, what can be done?”
“Well, the first thing that can be done in all of the cases that we’re talking today is to get information about how the patients’ brains are working. We look at these behaviors not as mental disorders — although they’re listed in the book, the DSM4, which is the Bible of mental disorders — they’re listed as mental disorders. We take a different view. We believe that all mental disorders eventually will be found to have a basis in the way the brain is working. So we look at the brain. We don’t try to label them; we just look at different areas of the brain and we focus our treatments. Once we know the areas that are working or not working, we can focus our therapies to those specific areas of the brain.”
“And everyone is different,” says Dr. Phil. He tells Craig that Brain Matters has agreed to do the mapping and scanning for his case and determine a course of treatment. “Would you like to do that?” he asks Craig.
“Absolutely. Are you kidding me? I’ll be the guinea pig for anything out there,” Craig replies enthusiastically.
“And the good news is you’re not a guinea pig because this is really a well-developed science.”
“The imaging for these kind of conditions, the literature is growing and these patterns are forming into very solid patterns. I don’t think we’re at the point yet where we can take a picture and make a diagnosis — we’re not claiming that. But we’re on the way in that direction,” says Dr. Hipskind.