What is Tourette’s syndrome?
Tourettes syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary repetitive movements or sounds called tics.
For example, a person with Tourettes may blink their eyes repeatedly.
As per the research, 1% of school-going children and adolescents suffer from Tourette’s syndrome.
French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot named Tourettes syndrome.
What are the causes of Tourettes syndrome?
There is no exact cause for Tourettes syndrome. However, Tourette’s syndrome is associated with various parts of the brain, including the basal ganglia.
The basal ganglia control body movements.
Any difference in the brain circuit has a role in Tourettes syndrome.
People with a family history of Tourettes syndrome and environmental factors have a higher risk of getting Tourettes syndrome.
What are the symptoms of Tourettes syndrome?
The primary symptom is tics. Few are mild and not even noticeable.
Tics are triggered by stress, excitement, or being weak and tired. And even may worsen the conditions.
There are two kinds of tics.
Motor tics: Motor tics involve movements like
- Jerking of arm or head
- Blinking eyes
- Twitching mouth
- Shrugging shoulder
Vocal tics: Vocal tics include
- Clearing throat
- Repeating the words said by someone else
Tics can be simple or complex. Simple tics affect one body part or are negligible. At the same time, complex tics affect many body parts or saying words, swearing, and jumping.
Nearly half of the people with Tourettes also suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The person may have difficulty paying attention, sitting quietly, and completing tasks.
Tourettes affects people with
- Dyslexia, people with learning disabilities
- In obsessive-compulsive disorder, you will not be able to control your thoughts and behaviors, like washing your hands repeatedly.
Onset and progress
Onset may occur before eighteen, but the typical age of onset is from five to seven, most likely before adolescence.
The severity of the condition increases to peak between eight to eleven years of age. As the child grows, symptoms will reduce slowly.
Diagnosis of Tourette
The Healthcare provider diagnoses the condition after going through the medical history; the Healthcare provider asks questions detailly regarding tics.
There is no blood test or imaging exam to diagnose the condition.
Some of the questions may be like
- How frequently do the tics appear?
- At what age tics started?
- What is the nature of tics?
Management and Treatment for Tourette syndrome
Mild tics, which don’t cause any disturbance in day-to-day activities, are negligible. However, severe tics may lead to self-inquiry and causes difficulty at work, school, or any social situation.
In this condition, medication is necessary; behavioral therapy will help the person.
Besides medication and behavioral therapy, you must follow these steps to improve.
Get support: your family member, friends, or healthcare person will help you to overcome the challenge faced by a person with Tourettes.
Involving yourself in drawing, painting, music, and sports will help you keep your mind away from the symptoms.
Relax: reading books, listening to music, meditating, or doing yoga will help you to relax.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the symptoms of Tourette’s?
Tourette’s syndrome is a known neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations known as tics. These tics can range from simple, such as eye blinking or clearing the throat, to complex, such as jumping or making specific noises.
To be diagnosed with Tourette’s, an individual must experience both motor and vocal tics for at least one year. In addition, tics must occur frequently and significantly impact daily life.
2. Is Tourette’s hereditary?
While the exact cause of Tourette’s is still unknown, research suggests that genetics play a role in developing the disorder. About 1 in 100 people are estimated to have a genetic predisposition to Tourette’s.
However, not everyone with a usual genetic predisposition will develop the disorder, and there is still ongoing research to understand the complex interplay between genetics and environmental factors.
3. Can Tourette’s be cured?
Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for Tourette’s syndrome. However, there are treatment options available that can help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
These include medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare professional. Developing a personalized treatment plan that addresses individual needs and goals is easy.
4. How does Tourette’s affect daily life?
Tourette’s can significantly impact daily life, as tics can be disruptive and cause embarrassment or discomfort. The disorder can also lead to difficulties in social situations and relationships and challenges in academic or work environments.
However, with proper treatment and support, individuals with Tourette’s can learn to manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.
5. Are people with Tourette’s intellectually impaired?
No, Tourette’s syndrome does not affect a person’s intelligence or cognitive abilities.
Many individuals with Tourette’s are knowledgeable and successful. However, some may experience difficulties in academic or work settings due to their tics or associated disorders, such as ADHD or OCD.
6. Can Tourette’s be diagnosed in adults?
While Tourette’s is often diagnosed in childhood, it can also be interpreted in adults. Many individuals may receive a diagnosis in adulthood, as symptoms can be mild or overlooked in childhood.
Diagnosis in adults follows the same criteria as in children, and proper evaluation by a healthcare professional is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
7. Is Tourette’s a rare disorder?
No, Tourette’s syndrome is not a rare disorder. It is estimated that over 200,000 Americans have the condition, affecting all ethnic groups.
However, symptoms can vary significantly among individuals and may be mild enough to go undiagnosed.
8. Are all tics a sign of Tourette’s?
No, not all tics are a sign of Tourette’s. Tics are common in childhood and can occur in individuals without Tourette’s.
However, if tics are present in both motor and vocal tics for at least one year and significantly impact daily life, it may be a sign of Tourette’s. It is crucial to seek a professional evaluation for an accurate diagnosis.
9. Can stress trigger tics?
Yes, stress can often trigger or exacerbate tics in individuals with Tourette’s syndrome. This is because stress can strain the brain circuits responsible for controlling tics, making it more difficult to suppress them.
Learning effective stress management techniques can help manage tics and reduce their frequency.
10. Are there any medications specifically for Tourette’s?
While no medication is precisely for Tourette’s, some medicines that treat other conditions, such as ADHD or OCD, can also help manage tics. These include stimulants, alpha agonists, and antipsychotics.
Working closely with a healthcare professional to find the proper medication and dosage is essential, as side effects can occur.