Tourette syndrome

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder. The main characteristic of Tourette syndrome is having both motor and vocal tics. This disorder was named after a man named George Gilles de la Tourette who was a French neurologist in the 1800’s. Tourette Syndrome is considered genetic although studies are on-going while researchers try to determine exactly how it is passed from parent to child. Males are 3 times more likely to be born with Tourette Syndrome than females, although it does affect both sexes.

Tourette Syndrome is a chronic condition. This means that the symptoms of the disorder will last throughout the person’s life. However, the severity of the symptoms may change over time. Most of the signs of Tourette Syndrome will surface during the childhood years or later in the teenage years. The most significant sign of the condition involves having tics throughout parts of the body or vocal tics. Tics are described as repetitive movements of the muscles and sounds from a person that are involuntary and come on suddenly. The tics can be severe or mild depending on the person and the time of their life. Often those who have tics that are more severe as young children and teenagers have milder symptoms as they grow older. Also stress can cause the tics to worsen. If a person tries to control the tics they usually come back after a short amount of time and are worse than before.

The tics are categorized as motor tics, complex motor tics and vocal tics. The motor tics are those that involve sudden jerky movements that are uncontrollable. The tics are usually localized to a certain muscle or muscle group, most involving those of the face, neck and shoulders. Facial twitches, eye blinking, shoulder movements, neck stretching and head nodding and jerking are all common.

The complex motor tics can be a little more complicated. Including more than one designated muscle group a complex motor tic can involve other parts of the body such as the legs, arms and torso. Repetitive behaviors and movements such as hopping, touching, bending, smelling, hand gesturing, kicking or circling can all be part of the complex motor tics that one may experience. Motor tics and complex motor tics can evolve over time and can become obsessive behaviors.

The vocal tics usually begin as sounds that are simple. A simple grunt, sniff, sigh, click, snort or throat clearing may be the beginning sign of having a vocal tic. Although vocal tics can start out simple they can eventually evolve into more complex vocal tics that include repeating words or sounds of letters. They can also include sudden cursing, use of obscene phrases or the repeating of other people’s words in a conversation.

For many people with Tourette Syndrome, the tics do not interfere with performing daily activities. If a person has a severe case of tics and has a hard time getting through their daily routine, it may be necessary to intervene with prescription medications. There are a few types of medications that may be prescribed to help settle the tic urges. Although the medications do not completely eliminate the motor and vocal tics, they can help them become more manageable and allow a person to live an easier life.

Living with Tourette Syndrome can prove challenging and frustrating for those who have the condition. For this reason it can prove beneficial for the person to seek counseling in order to deal with the emotions that may come with having the disorder. Learning coping techniques and stress management may also help eliminate the intensity of the motor and vocal tics.

Last updated on Nov 20th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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