Tourette Syndrome Awareness

  1. What is Tourette Awareness?
  2. What is Tourette Syndrome?
  3. Types of Tics
  4. Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome
  5. Co-occurring Conditions
  6. Treatments

 What is Tourette Awareness?

Tourette Awareness runs from May 15th to June 15th every year. There are several events in which you can participate throughout these days in order to raise awareness and donate to associations that are trying to find a cure. These associations are also working closely with families and patients who have been affected by Tourette Syndrome to provide them with help and support.   One of the ways to support is to join their 5K walks and runs for Tourette Syndrome. Most states have already picked a date for these events. There is a big one in New York City that will be happening this week to raise awareness. You can also wear teal on Tuesdays to show your support. You can also volunteer to help these associations and spread the word to friends and family. There are many ways to get involved so make sure to go out there and spread awareness about this condition that affects thousands of children and adults.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome is a condition that affects the nervous system of a person. It makes the person have “tics” which can be twitches, movements, or sounds that they make repeatedly. They cannot control the tics, but there are ways for them to try to keep them to a minimum depending on what activity they are doing, their mood, etc. Usually, this condition starts when you’re a child, and it can progress in positive or negative ways as you get older depending on treatment. It is also 3 to 4 times more common to happen in men than in women, even as kids. So far there is no real cause of Tourette Syndrome, but it could be a combination of a few things. A person’s family history and genetics seem to be a big factor, as well as the environment that they grew up in.

Types of Tics

There are two main types of tics, motor and vocal. Motor tics involve the movement of your body and vocal tics are sounds or words. These two can be broken down into simple tics and complex tics. Simple tics involve only a few parts of your body, while complex tics involve several parts of the body. Here is a chart that breaks down what kind of tics they are and if they are simple or complex.

Motor Tics:

SimpleComplex
Blinking Clapping and throwing
Shrugging Touching objects or people
Head and neck jerking Rapid eye movements
Muscle tensing Imitating movements (echopraxia)

Vocal Tics:

SimpleComplex
Throat cleaning Involuntary swearing (coprolalia)
Yelling Repeating others (echolalia)
Phonic Noises Repeating words and phrases (Palilalia)

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

The main symptom of Tourette Syndrome are uncontrollable tics. Usually they can be detected once a child is around the age of 5 to 10. Most people will have multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. Some people have tics that can be harmful such as head banging, which is why if you seem to have these symptoms or someone you know has them, make sure to see a medical provider.  Tics can also fluctuate depending on situations. If the person is stressed or excited, their symptoms can worsen. The tics tend to improve once the person is calm and focused. These tics can also disappear and reappear, regardless this condition is still classified as a chronic condition. In most cases, tics can decrease when reaching adolescence and adulthood, however there are cases where these tics could potentially worsen.

Co-occurring Conditions

There is no actual test that you can take to confirm that you have Tourette Syndrome. The only way that it can be determined is by a medical professional examining the tics and they will make an official diagnosis. Once this official diagnosis is made, they will talk about treatments if they are necessary to try and keep the tics to a minimum. However, along with being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, there is a higher chance that there will be other conditions. These can be mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders. These could include things like ADHD, OCD, or even anxiety. It is super important to get checked if you are diagnosed with Tourette’s because these other conditions could also contribute to the tics that are happening. Even if there are none present at the time, it is always smart to get regularly checked, especially if someone is diagnosed at a younger age.

Treatments

Currently there is no cure for Tourette Syndrome because we still don’t exactly know what causes it. However, there are treatments that can help with tics. Usually, these tics shouldn’t get in the way of your daily life, they only become a problem when they start interfering. If this is the case, there is medication that can help and behavioral treatments to  help you control and manage the tics better.

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