What Are Some Facts About Tourette Syndrome?


Quick Answer

Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition that causes repetitive tics, or involuntary movements and vocal behaviors, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains. Males are three to four times more likely than women to exhibit this disorder, which typically manifests between ages of 3 and 9. Only 10 to 15 percent of people with Tourette syndrome develop progressive or debilitating tics that persist well into adulthood.

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Full Answer

Tics can occur independently of Tourette syndrome, and they often stop within a year, according to KidsHealth. Doctors may consider a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome when individuals have chronic symptoms that last more than a year and they demonstrate both motor tics, such as blinking, and vocal tics, such as humming. Other common motor tics include foot stamping or head jerking, and vocal tics include clicking sounds, shouting or throat clearing. When people try to avoid tics, tension often builds until they feel forced to perform the involuntary actions.

In most cases, Tourette syndrome begins in childhood and worsens during the early teens, eventually improving in late teens and adulthood, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke notes. However, children or teens with Tourette syndrome may have other learning disabilities or neurological disorders, such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, that interfere with academic or social development. Some of the most debilitating symptoms of severe Tourette syndrome, known as complex tics, may include self-assault, inappropriate language and repeating the words of others.

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