What is Tourette's Syndrome?

The clinical definition of Tourette's Syndrome comes from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. It defines Tourette Syndrome as the following: “Tourette Syndrome or TS is a neurological disorder characterized by repetition, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Doctor Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist who in 1855 first described the condition in an 86 year old French noblewoman.” In a recent study, it was found that nearly 200,000 Americans have the most severe form of Tourette's Syndrome, and about 1 in 100 experience the more mild form and symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome.

Symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome

Since 1885 there has undoubtedly been much research into the condition and what the symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome are. There is quite a range of symptoms beyond what we typically think of when we think of an individual with Tourette's Syndrome. Besides the well know verbal outbursts involving curse words or profanity, there are also more subtle signs or symptoms, such as nervous tics. Examples of tics include a person clearing their throat often and in succession or uncontrollable blinking or rolling of the eyes. Other tics involve shoulder shrugging or facial movements. The word “tic” is used as a blanket term for symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome and can range from violent, jerking movements to almost unnoticeable, discreet actions. Other symptoms include light and sound sensitivity. This has to do with the individuals hypersensitivity to such things. Some individuals with Tourette's syndrome struggle with sleep problems, either sleeping too long or not enough.

The intensity of the symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome may be brought on by changes in a persons life such as seasonal changes, holidays, or other events that can bring about change to a person's routine. In addition, a rise in stress or trying situations may trigger a more intense onset of Tourette's symptoms. In the end, however, very seldom do these symptoms present in a pattern or rhythm. In addition to the symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome there are also certain conditions associated with it such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Tourette's Syndrome and Treatment

Although many individuals with Tourette's Syndrome don't use medications, there are some that can be prescribed to them. Doctors and specialists have classified these medications as neuroleptics. A few examples of these name brand medications are Halopeudol and Pimozide. Tourette's Syndrome is a condition that, with current medicines and information, can be managed and controlled. In fact, some individuals have certain cases that actually diminish and can sometimes disappear completely with age and time. Although the tics that some individuals have are not voluntary, sometimes those individuals can actually learn to suppress or cover up their symptoms.