What is Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder that causes people to have involuntary movements (tics) and sounds (vocal tics). Tics can be simple or complex, and they can be motor or vocal. Simple tics are brief and repetitive movements, such as eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, or head jerking. Complex tics are more coordinated movements, such as jumping, touching objects, or repeating words or phrases. Vocal tics can be simple, such as clearing the throat or sniffing, or complex, such as swearing or repeating what other people say (echolalia).

Tourette Syndrome Prevalence

TS is estimated to affect about 1 in 100 people. It is more common in boys than girls, and it usually starts in childhood, between the ages of 2 and 15.

Tourette Syndrome Symptoms

The symptoms of TS can vary from person to person. Some people have only mild tics that are barely noticeable, while others have more severe tics that can interfere with their daily activities. The most common tics are motor tics, such as eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, and head jerking. Vocal tics are less common, but they can include swearing, repeating words or phrases, or making animal noises.

Tourette Syndrome Diagnosis

TS is diagnosed based on a physical examination and a history of the symptoms. There is no single test for TS, but the doctor may order other tests to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

Tourette Syndrome Treatment

There is no cure for TS, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. The most common treatment is medication, which can help to reduce the frequency and severity of the tics. Other treatments include behavioral therapy, which can help people to learn how to cope with the symptoms, and surgery, which is a last resort for people with severe tics that do not respond to other treatments.

Tourette Syndrome Coping Strategies

There are a number of things that people with TS can do to cope with the symptoms. These include:

  • Learning about TS and its treatments.
  • Talking to a therapist about how to manage the stress and anxiety that can trigger tics.
  • Developing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen tics.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Exercising regularly.

Tourette Syndrome is a complex disorder, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. With the right support, people with TS can live full and productive lives.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, please see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. There is no shame in having TS, and there are many resources available to help people with this condition.