Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder, which most often begins between the ages of 2 and 21, and lasts throughout life. Between 0.4% and 3.8% of children ages 5 to 18 may have Tourette’s. Extreme Tourette’s in adulthood is a rarity. TS is NOT degenerative and doesn’t have an affect on the intelligence. The people with TS can expect to live a normal life span.
According to Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia tics are experienced as a build up of tension, are irresistible and eventually must be performed. Typically tics increase as a result of tension or stress and decrease with relaxation or concentration on an absorbing task. TS symptoms have long been misconstrued as a sign of behavioral abnormality or “nervous habits”, which they are not.
There are two categories of the tics of TS:
– Motor – eye blinking, head jerking, shoulder shrugging, facial grimacing, nose twitching
– Vocal – throat clearing, barking noises, squealing, grunting, gulping, sniffing, tongue clicking.
– Motor – jumping, touching other people and things, twirling about, repetitive movements of the torso or limbs, pulling at clothing and self-injurious actions including hitting or biting oneself.
To see an example (video) of this syndrome scroll to the bottom.
The variety and complexity of tics or tic-like symptoms that can be seen in TS is enormous.
The exact cause of Tourette’s is unknown, but it is well established that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. In most cases, medication is unnecessary.
There is no effective treatment for every case of tics, but certain medications and therapies can help when their use is warranted.
Expect a new post soon on living with Tourette syndrome and famous people who have it.