Tourette Syndrome (Tourette’s)

The precise mechanism of how and why Tourette’s syndrome (TS) develops is unknown, but it does seem to be comorbid with anxiety-related disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD). There may be a genetic component to the development of TS. TS is characterized by its vocal and motor tics, as well as laughing at inappropriate times (coprolalia). Severe Tourette’s is a debilitating condition, but thankfully improves as the sufferer ages due to the development of better management techniques.

According to the CDC, 1 out of every 360 children (0.3%) aged 6 – 17 suffer from TS. Children aged 12 – 17 are twice as likely to suffer from TS than children aged 4 – 11. 37% of TS sufferers have moderate to severe Tourette’s. Males are more likely to suffer from vocal tics and are generally more likely to have TS, whilst females generally tend to display a greater number of motor tics.

Medication is rarely prescribed for TS directly, although medications may be prescribed for other conditions comorbid with TS. Should the TS be severe enough, adrenergic agonists such as clonidine may be prescribed. Antipsychotic medications may also be prescribed, as they can dampen dopamine production and reduce the number of tics. However, side-effects of these drugs can at times be much worse than the tics themselves.

More common treatments for TS include techniques such as neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and cogitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as developing routines and a structured day, exercise and avoiding refined sugar and caffeine.

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