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Tourette Syndrome

Home >> Mental Health >> Tourette Syndrome

Clinical Directorate

Overview

Tourette syndrome is typically a condition that causes people to make repeated, quick movements or sounds that they cannot control. These movements or sounds are called tics. ourette's is no longer considered a rare condition, but it is not always correctly identified because most cases are mild and the severity of tics decreases for most children as they pass through adolescence. Between 0.4% and 3.8% of children and adolescents ages 5 to 18 may have Tourette's. The prevalence of other tic disorders in school-age children is higher, with the more common tics of eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Tourette syndrome can range from tiny, minor movements (such as grunts, sniffling, or coughing) to constant movements and sounds that can't be controlled.

  • Arm thrusting
  • Jumping
  • kicking
  • Eye blinking
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Repeated throat clearing or sniffing

Causes

This syndrome is related to problems in certain areas of the brain. There is strong evidence that Tourette syndrome is passed down through families, although the gene has not yet been found.

Treatment

Patients with Tourette syndrome who have very minor symptoms are not treated because of the side effects of the medications.

Drugs used to treat tics include:

  • Antiseizure medications
  • Blood pressure medicine
  • Botulinum toxin injections
  • Dopamine blockers