Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. These tics can be simple, such as eye blinking or throat clearing, or complex, such as jumping or making obscene gestures. Tourette’s can be diagnosed in childhood and often co-occurs with other conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anxiety disorders.
The exact cause of Tourette’s is not known, but researchers believe that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies suggest that changes in certain parts of the brain and the neurotransmitters that control movement and behavior may play a role.
Symptoms of Tourette’s can vary from person to person and can change over time. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood and most people with Tourette’s will have symptoms that improve or disappear by the time they reach adulthood.
Treatment for Tourette’s may include therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or habit reversal therapy (HRT) to help manage tics and co-occurring conditions. Medications such as neuroleptics, alpha-2-adrenergic agonists, and botulinum toxin can also be used to reduce tics.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of Tourette’s as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve overall outcome. Support groups and counseling can also provide valuable resources for people living with Tourette’s and their families.