Help raise awareness of Tourette's Syndrome, and rectify the false portrayal of Tourette's in the media.
Tourette's Syndrome is a disorder one is born with, although it usually appears a few years later in life (during the toddler stage). It consists of uncontrollable motor and vocal ticcing, to varying extents. Contrary to popular belief, and not helped by the media, Tourette's is not in fact uncontrollable, obscene language. Join this cause and help others become aware of this disorder that controls so many people's lives.
Tourette's Syndrome, named after the french neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette, is an inherited neurological disorder characterized by the presence of involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Although originally considered a rare syndrome, TS symptoms have become apparent in a larger population since its original documentation. Although most cases of this normally childhood on setting disorder are mild, many get the help from medications and other treatments to help alleviate and become comfortable with the problems that arise from it.
As many as 1 in 100 are diagnosed with TS as a child, with many cases becoming less severe as the person with the condition reaches adulthood.
Types of tics associated with Tourette's Syndrome:
Motor Tics: Sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic movement-based tics affecting discrete muscle groups
- common motor tics include blinking
Vocal Tics: Involuntary sounds produced by moving air through the nose, mouth, or throat
- Coprolalia: outburst of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks. This is the most publicized symptom associated with TS and is one of the least common tics, affecting only 10-15% of those with the disorder
- Copropraxia: complex motor tic involving obscene gestures
- Palilalia: repeating one's own words
- Echolalia: repeating the words of others
Some characteristics of those with TS:
- Onset of tics occurs before the age of 18
- Periodic changes in the number, frequency, type and location of the tics, and in the waxing and waning of their severity. Symptoms can sometimes disappear for weeks or months at a time.
- The disturbance is not due to the direct physiologic effects of a substance (e.g., stimulants) or a general medical condition (e.g., Huntington's disease or post-viral encephalitis).
- Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics present at some time, although not necessarily simultaneously
Causes of Tourette's Syndrome:
Although there is no cure for TS, the causes are understood fairly well.
- TS is inherited from parents or grandparents and often skips a generation, it is also more likely to present itself in males more than females.
- One main cause of TS is the abnormal biochemical metabolism of the neurotransmitter Dopamine in the brain. This neurotransmitter and others work on various parts in the brain that are thought to be related to the symptoms associated with TS. These areas of the brain include the thalamus, basal ganglia and frontal cortex.
- Although environmental, infectious, or psychosocial factors do not cause TS, they can influence the severity of tics
Treatments for Tourette's Syndrome:
There is no cure for TS, but there are things that can be done to alleviate tics and help those that have the syndrome.
- A wide variety of medications are used to help control tics in those who suffer from a more than mild case of TS. These medications include neuroleptics, anti-hypertensive agents, antidepressants and anti-anxieties. Even Marijuana has been shown effective in alleviating tics better than many other currently used medications.
- Psychotherapy and education are often the best thing that can be done to help those with TS
1. Tourette Syndrome is characterized by uncontrollable motor and vocal tics, not only vulgar language.
2. Raising awareness is essential for creating a supportive environment for those with Tourette's.