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Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition that is defined by involuntary tics that range from vocal to facial and can include rapid blinking or even sniffing. This condition usually arises at about the age of 7 years old and it can present difficulties for a child, particularly in the social context.

Only about 10 to 15% of patients with Tourette’s Syndrome swear involuntarily. While medical professionals understand that the condition is a medical one and it is generally inherited, they don’t yet fully comprehend how. At the moment there is no way to cure Tourette’s, but there are treatments that are available.

Diagnosing Tourette’s Syndrome

In order to diagnose this syndrome, the person needs to display both motor and vocal ticks for about 12 months. In some instances, however, individuals might not experience tics for periods of up to 3 months in between. It is quite common for ADHD, ADD and OCD to co-occur along with Tourette’s.

Understanding Tics

Tics refer to sounds or movements that are repetitive and they can include anything from eye movements to shouting out obscenities. These tics are involuntary and if a person doesn’t do it, this could end up increasing their anxiety levels. At the moment, there aren’t any diagnostic tests that help to identify the condition. This issue actually arises, at least in part, from a problem with the central nervous system, and so it is not only a behavioral problem, but also a neurological one. It is important to remember that not all people who have tics also have Tourette’s.

Coprolalia occurs when someone involuntarily uses swear words or obscenities. Since the media tends to focus on this condition alone, many people now believe this is entirely what Tourette’s is all about, but this is not the case. Echophenomena is a tic whereby someone copies everything someone else does and says, while Palilalia causes someone to repeat their own words.

Who Is At Risk?

About 1 in 1,000 or 2,000 people struggle with this condition and it is thought that there are about 100,000 sufferers in America alone. This problem is more likely to affect boys than girls. While the condition doesn’t affect a person’s life span, it could end up greatly affecting their quality of life, which is what makes it important to deal with. People who have parents struggle with the condition could be more likely to inherit it, since the cause is somewhat genetic. Medical professional believe that neurotransmitters might be somewhat to blame for the problem.

Some medical professionals believe that certain conditions in pregnancy or possibly even child birth could end up affecting whether or not someone is vulnerable to developing Tourette’s; some of these factors include stress during pregnancy or prolonged labor, but nothing conclusive has been discovered as yet. (

Treating Tourette’s Syndrome

Not all people with Tourette’s seek out help because the tics aren’t dangerous to people’s help, but many individuals find that they are embarrassing and end up affecting their social lives, which is why they seek medical assistance to get treatment for the condition.

Treating Tourette’s Syndrome

In order to treat Tourette’s syndrome, a range of psychological treatments have been utilized, with some offering better results than others. CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, has been a very effective tool that has been used against this condition, although it is just one among many. Many children can learn to entirely suppress their tics while they are at school, although they often need to release them when they get home.

Some people have chosen to send their children to special schools in order to help them adjust better, while others don’t see the need for this type of move. There’s isn’t a set method for dealing with Tourette’s as a parent, but this will of course depend on the co-occurring conditions that afflict the child. Above everything else, it is important for people to give their children as much support as possible when it comes to dealing with Tourette’s.