What's wrong with you?
That's what many kids with Tourette Syndrome are told when they "bother" people with their tics.
Tourette Syndrome(TS) is a neurological condition that causes a person to make repeated, quick movements or sounds that they cannot control.
- TS is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.
- Simple tics involve small movements with perhaps one muscle group. Complex tics involve many movements.
- A tic that causes a person to swear is called coprolalia. 10-15% of TS patients have this. Echolalia is copying what others say.
- Excitement and stress can trigger tics, while calm environments lead to less of a chance.
- The average onset of TS is between ages 3 to 9. (According to the CDC)
- Males are affected 3 to 4 times more than females.
- More than 79% of people with TS have other conditions- Depression, OCD, ADHD
- There is no cure, but TS is not degenerative and symptoms tend to decrease as patients get older.
- TS is inherited. One defective gene is all it takes for a person to get TS.
Brain and Symptoms
The cause for TS is unknown, but is believed to be located in the basal ganglia- a part of the brain that can cause tremors if it is abnormal- and the frontal lobes. The circuits that interconnect these regions as well as their neurotransmitters(dopamine, serotonin, etc.) have abnormalities. It is a genetic disorder.
TS causes a person to have "tics". Tics are sudden movements or sounds that a person does repeatedly, and people with TS cannot control this. Having tics is like having a sneeze that you can't hold in, so your body just performs the action. Some people have complex tics that affect multiple parts of their body, but many people just have simple tics that are small movements. Tics can also be vocal; coprolalia, perhaps the most famous type of TS, is when a person swears as their tic.
Why should you care?
People with TS are just like you and me, they live normal lives. However, they are often treated differently in social settings. Children with TS are often bullied and held at a distance because of their differences.YOU can help stop this negative reaction by spreading awareness of TS to the people that you know.
One option to help spread awareness is to use the hashtag #SurrenderYourSay on Twitter. This campaign is already established and going on. The video below has more information on the campaign.
Other ways you can help are by spreading awareness to everyone you know, and showing tolerance to those with TS.
Do you have TS?
- Do you have or have you developed an involuntary tic such as eye blinking, grimacing, kicking, or other similar sudden movements?
- Do you have or have you developed a vocal tic like grunts, clicking sounds, swearing, or other similar vocal tics?
- Do your tics occur many times during the day, or everyday?
- Have your symptoms been going on for a year or longer?
- Does someone else in your family have Tourette Syndrome or similar symptoms?
- Could your tic be from medicine or treatment that you are doing for another condition?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, there is a high chance that you also have Tourette Syndrome.
TS has no cure. However, there are methods and medications to help suppress tics. One option is a drug that blocks the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, such as one called fluphenazine. Another option is behavioral therapy. Therapists use a habit reversal method that helps patients become aware of when the tic is coming and they become able to suppress the extremity of the tic. Also, TS is not degenerative, so patients do not worsen as they get older.