Tourette Syndrome is a type of Tic Disorder. A Tic Disorder is characterized by involuntary, repeated movements and/or sounds. Tic Disorders begin during childhood as a neurodevelopmental condition and include Tourette Syndrome, Chronic Tic Disorder, and Provisional Tic Disorders. The different disorders are classified by the types of tics occurring (motor, vocal/phonic, or both) and the length of times that the tics have been occurring.
Motor tics are movements that may include eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, and shoulder shrugging, while simple vocal tics may include sniffing, throat clearing, hooting, and shouting. Complex vocal tics are recognizable or unrecognizable words that occur out of context.
Tic disorders typically emerge between 5-7 years of age and increase in severity until about age 8-12. Often, those with Tourette Syndrome see noticeable improvements into late adolescence with some becoming tic free. A minority of those with Tourette Syndrome continue into adulthood with persistent and severe tics.
The causes of Tourette Syndrome are unknown, but the condition is hereditary with almost all cases having a clear genetic tie. Environmental and developmental factors most likely play a role, but no studies have produced clear results. A complex interaction between genetics and other factors varying between individuals most likely causes Tourette Syndrome.
No cure currently exists for Tourette Syndrome, but patients can receive treatment depending on the patient’s variety and severity. Treatment may include behavioral counseling and/or medication.
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For more information: https://www.tourette.org/about-tourette/overview/