Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder that involves multiple involuntary movements (motor tics) and vocalizations (verbal tics) that occur consistently for more than one year.
TS usually begins in early childhood or adolescence. Symptoms can include:
- Frequent, repetitive and rapid motor tics
- The first tics are usually facial tics like an eye blink, nose twitch, or grimace
- Additional tics of the neck, torso and limbs may replace or be added to these over time
- Verbal tics, which usually occur with the movements, such as grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking
- Less common symptoms of TS include the involuntary use of obscene words or gestures, repeating the words of others, repeating ones own words and repeating the movements of others.
TS is diagnosed through observation of symptoms and by taking a thorough history. We may want to run some tests to rule out other conditions that can be confused with TS.
Symptoms of TS can range from very mild to severe, but the majority of cases are mild. There are medications to treat TS if the condition interferes with daily life, but most people do not require medication. Other treatments like counseling, behavior therapies, relaxation techniques and biofeedback can help as well.
Many people with TS improve as they get older. In fact, up to one in three people with TS experience lessening of symptoms in adulthood.
To learn more about TS, visit the National Tourette Syndrome Association’s Website at www.tsa-usa.org