Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) neurological disorder characterized by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic. Presence of only a motor tic or a vocal tic is still considered a Tic disorder. Tics associated with these disorders characteristically wax and wane. Prior to performing a tic, most people report an urge, feeling, or sensation, often in the area in which the tic manifests itself. The act of performing the tic usually leads to some relief of the feelings or urge. Some feelings are not localized in any area and instead an individual may perform a tic to achieve a just right feeling.
Common simple tics include eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements. There are also complex tics, which are behaviors that appear to simulate normal actions, but are actually done in the service of relieving a feeling of discomfort. Examples of complex tics include, stretching, tapping, rubbing, and repeating activities (i.e., picking up and setting down an object). Many complex tics seem similar to compulsive activities associated with OCD.
TS and tic disorders are much more likely to occur in children than adults. For many, the tics are transient in nature, meaning they disappear over time without any intervention. The prevalence rate for TS in children is approximately 0.6-0.8% and perhaps higher when including all tic disorders.
Like most disorders, both medications and therapy may help a person with TS. The most effective classes of medication are typical and atypical neuroleptics, although there are a number of side effects. While some other medications have lower side effects, their efficacy is often more variable than the neuroleptics.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit the Tourette Association of America website.