Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome is an inherited neuropyschiatric disorder that is first evident in childhood. The disorder is evident by the presence of multiple physical tics and at least one vocal tic. The severity of the tics are erratic. Tourette syndrome is also called Tourette's Syndrome, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS, Tourette's disorder, or just simply Tourette's or TS.

Individuals with Tourette's have sudden, repetitive, involuntary, non–rhythmic body movements or vocalization involving different parts of the body. Examples would be rapid eye blinking, head jerking, or facial movements. Tourette's is not related to autism, obsessive–compulsive disorder, attention–deficit hyperactivity disorder, or seizure activity. It is the most severe of the spectrum of tic disorders.

A Disorder of Varying Severity

The severity of symptoms varies among people with Tourette's. Many people with the disorder experience additional neurobehavioral problems including hyperactivity, inattention, and obsessive–compulsive symptoms such as intrusive worries/thoughts and repetitive behaviors. However, most people have only mild cases of the disorder and it may go undetected.

Less than one percent of the population has Tourette's. People with the disorder have normal intelligence and normal life expectancy. The effects of the disorder tend to decrease for most children as they pass through adolescence. Extreme cases of Tourette's are rare in adults.

Tourette Syndrome Behavior

The tics exhibited by people with Tourette's are largely involuntary, similar to sneezing or scratching an itch. While some individuals may be able to suppress their tics for limited period of time, the tics build up and need to be released. Some people with Tourette's seek out a secluded spot to release their tics. As children with TS age, they are typically better able to cope with the disorder.

People most famously associate Tourette's with coprolalia, the spontaneous utterance of obscene words or socially inappropriate remarks. However, only a small percentage of people with the disorder display coprolalia. Other Tourette's patients may exhibit palilalia, which is the repetition of one's own words, or echolalia, repeating the words of other people. The stereotypical person with Tourettes displayed in movies and the media exhibits coprolalia.