Pronounced: tuh-RET SIN-drohm
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a chronic disorder of the nervous system. It isa type of tic disorders. TS is known by its motor and vocal tics. These tics are rapid, involuntary movements or sounds that occur repeatedly.
Many people with TS also have one or more of the following problems:
The exact cause of TS is unknown. However, brain chemicals, called dopamine and serotonin are most likely involved.
There may be a genetic link to TS, although some have no known family history.
Males are three to four times more likely to be affected. Other factors that may increase your risk of TS include:
Tics are the main symptoms of TS. To be TS, the tics must be:
Tics range from mild-to-severe. They can occur suddenly and vary in the amount of time that they last. Tics may temporarily decrease with concentration or distraction. During times of stress, they may occur more often.
The tics are often increased with stress and tension. Concentration or distraction may decrease them. Tics are divided into motor and vocal. The following are some common examples:
While tics may occur throughout life, butsymptoms may improve during later teens years.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Education and therapy are often parts of the treatment plan. In some cases, medicine may be needed.
Education and Therapy
Learning about TS is a very important part of treatment. Education can also be helpful for your family, friends, and coworkers.
Therapy can also help you develop habits to help manage tics or other related symptoms. Types of therapy include:
In addition, relaxation, biofeedback, and exercise can reduce help to reduce stress.
Medication is not required in most cases. No certain medication works in all people with TS. If a doctor prescribes medication, there are usually strong side effects.
Medications that may be prescribed include:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Tourette Syndrome Association
About Kids Health
Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada
NINDS tourette syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tourette/tourette.htm. Updated October 19, 2012. Accessed April 3, 2013.
Tourette syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated September 3, 2012. April 3, 2013.
Last reviewed February 2013 by Brian Randall, MD