Tourette’s is a neurological condition that causes tics, or involuntary movements and vocalizations. It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are wide-ranging and vary from person to person. The disorder affects people of all backgrounds, cultures, genders, and races.
The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn’t known. It’s a complex disorder likely caused by a combination of inherited (genetic) and environmental factors. Chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses (neurotransmitters), including dopamine and serotonin, might play a role.
One of the major symptoms is having tics. Tics are involuntary movements that can be very disruptive. They may cause embarrassment, shame, and anxiety for the person who has them.
There are over 100,000 children in the US that live with this disorder every day. Some people only experience mild symptoms while others have severe symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. If your child has been diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome it means they have both motor and vocal tics at some point during their life.
Some people with TS also have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder that causes unwanted thoughts and behaviors to pop into your head over and over again. These thoughts can be upsetting, but they’re not usually dangerous like tics are for most people with TS.
For some people with both disorders, it may seem like one problem triggers the other or worsens symptoms, but doctors don’t yet understand exactly how these conditions interact in each person who has them together.
There are so many myths about Tourettes. People with Tourette Syndrome don’t always shout obscenities. In fact, only about 10% of people with the condition have coprolalia. But even if they do, it doesn’t mean that they’re dangerous or bad. People who have this symptom are just like everyone else and deserve to be treated as such.
To learn more about neurological disorders and their causes, visit NJDDC’s blog section.