What is Tourettes Syndrome

Tourettes syndrome is a neurological disorder which involves repetitive, stereotyped and involuntary movements called tics. Signs of this disorder are evident between the ages of 7-10 years in a child. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are 200,000 Americans with the most severe form of this disorder. Milder symptoms are seen in nearly 100 individuals.

It is a chronic condition which exists for an entire life time, with the severity of symptoms decreasing with age. Though the exact cause of this disorder is not known yet, research studies have revealed that abnormalities in certain locations of the brain and their associated neurotransmitters are responsible for this disorder. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

Symptoms of Tourettes Syndrome:

  • Vision irregularities like eye blinking
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Facial grimacing
  • Head and shoulder jerking
  • Repetitive throat-clearing, grunting sounds or sniffing
  • Facial grimacing along with a shoulder shrug and a head twist
  • Hopping
  • Jumping
  • Twisting
  • Touching objects
  • Barking
  • Repeating Words or phrases of others
  • Self harm like punching self
  • Uttering swear words
  • A premonitory urge

Head and neck are the regions where the symptoms appear first and progress to other locations of the body. Motor tics are followed by vocal tics and simple tics are followed by complex tics. The symptoms are high in their severity during mid teens. In nearly 10 percent patients, the symptoms increase in severity with the onset of adulthood.

Associated Disorders of Taurettes Syndrome:

  • Inattention
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Reading and writing problems
  • Intrusive thoughts/worries
  • Repetitive behaviours
  • Concerns about happening of bad things associated with ritualistic behaviours
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression

Research studies have revealed that this disorder is hereditary by nature and men are at more risk of getting this neurological issue than women.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Taurettes Syndrome:

  • When the motor and vocal tics are observed for more than a year, a person is diagnosed for this disorder.
  • As the symptoms of this disorder do not cause any impairment, in most of the cases of this disorder no medication is required.
  • Unfortunately there is no single medication for this incurable syndrome and most of the prescribed medicines have unavoidable side effects to deal with.

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