People with Tourette’s syndrome experience uncontrollable abrupt movements or sounds known as tics. This condition affects the nerve system. For instance, a person with Tourette’s syndrome might repeatedly blink or clear their throat. Some folks might say something out of the blue.
The most frequent forms of tics involve:
- throat clearing
- shoulder movements
- head movements
Tics can be controlled by treatments, although some people don’t require any unless their symptoms are extremely bothersome.
A full-blown case of Tourette’s syndrome affects about 100,000 Americans, while more people have a milder variant of the condition. More boys than girls are affected, and it frequently begins in childhood. With age, symptoms frequently improve in youngsters. They disappear entirely for some people.
Different types of tics
Tics come in two types: verbal and motor.
Body motions are known as motor tics. Blinking, shrugging the shoulders, or jerking an arm are a few examples of motor tics.
The sounds a person creates with their voice are called vocal tics. Vocal tics include things like humming, throat clearing, and screaming out a word or phrase.
Tics can be simple or complex:
Simple tics only affect a few body areas. This type of tics include sniffing or squinting the eyes.
Complex tics frequently affect several separate body areas and may follow a pattern. A sophisticated tic might involve bobbing the head while jerking one arm, followed by a jump.
Symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome
Tics are the predominant symptom. Some are undetectable because they are so light. Others are visible and frequently occur. They can get worse during stress, excitement, or when one is ill or exhausted. The most serious ones might be embarrassing and have an impact on your career or social life.
Tics come in two varieties:
Movement is a part of motor tics. They consist of:
- head or arm jerking
- Posing a grin
- Mouth fluttering
- shrugging shoulders
Vocal tics consist of:
- yelping or barking
- spitting out your throat
- repeating what another person has said
Tics can be straightforward or complex. Simple tics, such as eye blinking or facial expressions, only affect one or a small number of bodily components. A difficult one includes using numerous bodily parts or speaking. Examples include jumping and cursing.
You might experience a tingling or tense feeling just before a motor tic. The sensation disappears as a result of movement. You might be able to temporarily suppress your tics, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to do so permanently.
About half of persons with Tourette’s also exhibit symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, though doctors aren’t sure why (ADHD). You could struggle to focus, maintain your composure, and complete chores.
Additionally, tourette’s can lead to issues with:
- learning disorders like dyslexia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterised by uncontrollable thoughts and actions, such as repeatedly washing your hands.
Causes of Tourette syndrome
An extremely complex syndrome is twitching. It involves changes to the electrical pathways connecting various sections of your brain that are aberrant. The area of your brain that contributes to controlling motor movements, the basal ganglia, may have an anomaly if you have Tourette syndrome.
Your brain’s chemical messengers of nerve impulses may also be at play. Neurotransmitters are the name for these substances.
Several neurotransmitters are:
Remember that there is no test to identify Tourette syndrome. Neurotransmitter blood levels and brain imaging both seem normal.
There is no cure for Tourette syndrome at this time, and there is no recognised cause. It may be caused by a genetic variation that is inherited, according to researchers. The precise genes that are directly connected to Tourette syndrome are being sought after.
Family groupings have been recognised, nevertheless. These clusters suggest to researchers that heredity may contribute to the development of Tourette’s in some individuals.
How is Tourette syndrome treated?
You might not need therapy if your tics are not severe and you have a milder form of Tourette syndrome. There are numerous treatments available if your tics are severe or are making you think about harming yourself. If your tics get more severe as you get older, a healthcare practitioner may also suggest treatments.
A medical expert might advise behavioural therapy or psychotherapy for you. Individual counselling with a qualified mental health expert is involved in this.
In behavioural therapy, there are:
- awareness instruction
- competition reaction instruction
- Cognitive behavioural therapy for tic prevention
Similar treatments may also be beneficial for:
Throughout psychotherapy sessions, your therapist may also employ the following techniques:
- relaxation strategies
- guided introspection
- activities for deep breathing
You might benefit from group treatment. With others of the same age who also have Tourette syndrome, you will receive counselling.
Tourette syndrome cannot be treated with medication. To assist you control your symptoms, your doctor may perhaps suggest one or more of the following medications:
Risperidone (Risperdal), haloperidol (Haldol), aripiprazole (Abilify), or other neuroleptic medications.
- Onabotulinum toxin A (Botox).
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin).
- Topiramate (Topamax).
- Cannabis-based medications.
Another method of treatment for those with severe tics is deep brain stimulation. The efficacy of this type of therapy for those who have Tourette syndrome is still being studied.
Your doctor may implant a battery-operated device in your head to stimulate the areas of your brain that regulate movement as part of deep brain stimulation. As an alternative, they might put electrical wires inside your brain to stimulate certain areas with electricity.
People with tics who had been thought to be very difficult to treat have benefited from this approach. To find out about the possible risks and advantages for you and to determine whether this treatment might be effective for your healthcare requirements, you should speak with a healthcare expert.
You might discover, like many others with Tourette syndrome, that your tics subside in your late teens and early 20s. In adulthood, your symptoms might even abruptly vanish altogether.
Nevertheless, even if your Tourette symptoms lessen as you age, you can still experience linked illnesses including depression, panic attacks, and anxiety and require therapy for them. It’s critical to keep in mind that Tourette syndrome is a medical illness unrelated to intelligence or lifespan.
You can control Tourette symptoms with advancements in therapy, your healthcare team, and access to tools and support, which can help you have a full life.
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