Tourette Syndrome started trending on searches when popular American Singer Billie Eilish revealed that she was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at the age of 11 years. She confessed how exhausting it was to cope with TS. Suddenly everyone wanted to know -What is Tourette Syndrome?
Today in this post I shall share with you – What is Tourette Syndrome and how it affects a person.
What is Tourette Syndrome?
Tourette syndrome (also known as Tourette’s disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS, or simply Tourette’s or TS) is a common neurological disorder that begins in childhood and is marked by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics as well as at least one vocal (phonic) tic that waxes and wanes. Some of the common movements seen in TS are blinking, sniffing, neck twitching, coughing, grunting, or tensing of the abdominal musculature. TS is generally found in adolescence or childhood.
What is a Tic?
A tic is a sudden, involuntary, rapid, repetitive movement it can be of two types -motor tic or vocal tic.
A small percentage of people may also have a propensity to utter obscene words or socially inappropriate words involuntarily (coprolalia) which can make it embarrassing for the person who suffers from it as well as the family.
How does one get Tourette Syndrome?
TS remains mostly an inherited condition but some environmental factors are also associated with increased incidence and severity of TS, some of them are :
- Genetic tendency, so if someone in the family has TS, your chances of getting it increase
- Maternal smoking or passive exposure during pregnancy seems to have a relationship with TS
- Maternal stress during pregnancy can increase the chances of TS in the baby
- Stress and social pressure may increase the severity of the Tics
Do people with TS have Normal intelligence?
More than 60% of people suffering from this syndrome, also suffer from a neurological condition called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Syndrome ) which can involve learning difficulties and a less than normal intelligence but that is not always the case. Some people may have normal intelligence even with Tourette Syndrome.
How does one treat TS?
Once a neurologist or a mental health professional diagnoses the condition, the most common therapies used to treat TS are
Dopamine agonist therapy
Habit reversal therapy
Patient education is very important for individuals with Tourette syndrome. Counseling and support including social skills training help a lot in improving the severity of the tics.
Billie Eilish and several other celebrities are living proof that suffering from Tourette Syndrome need not be a deal-breaker for anyone to succeed in life.
( This post is my contribution to Blogchatter’s initiative #CauseAChatter to spread awareness about #MentalHealth )