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Tourette's Syndrome

Gilles De La Tourette's Syndrome

What is Tourette syndrome? — Tourette syndrome is a rare disorder that causes people to make unusual movements or sounds, called "tics." Common examples of tics include blinking and throat clearing. People with the disorder have little or no control over their tics. Many people with Tourette syndrome have mild symptoms, but some have more severe ones.
Most people with Tourette syndrome start showing signs of the disorder before they are 11 years old. In about half of children with Tourette syndrome, the tics go away by the time they turn 18. Tics that continue into adulthood gradually improve over time in many people. But in some people, the tics return later in life.
What are the symptoms of Tourette syndrome? — The symptoms include:
Motor tics – These are tics that involve sudden unusual movements. They can be mild (called "simple motor tics") or more extreme (called "complex motor tics"). Examples of motor tics include:
•Briefly making a face as if angry or in pain (called a "grimace")
•Shrugging the shoulders
•Jerking the head
•Walking in a strange way
•Kicking, jumping, or moving the body in odd ways
•Making obscene gestures
Vocal tics – These are tics that involve unusual sounds or words, or phrases that don't make sense or seem odd. Examples include:
•Throat-clearing, grunting, or other noises
•Repeating words or phrases (including echoing what other people say)
People with Tourette syndrome often know that they are going to have a tic before it happens.
Is there a test for Tourette syndrome? — No. There is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you or your child has it by learning about the symptoms. Most people with Tourette syndrome have a normal physical exam.
How is Tourette syndrome treated? — Children and adults with Tourette syndrome don't need medical treatment unless their tics are severe. A person with Tourette syndrome might need treatment if the tics are causing problems with:
Talking with other people
Attending school or working at a job
Doing everyday things such as bathing, dressing, and eating
A person might also need treatment if the tics are causing pain or injury.
Treatments include:
Medicines – Certain medicines used to treat different mental health conditions can lower the number of tics a person has.
Botulinum toxin (brand name: Botox) – This is a medicine that is given by injection. It works by blocking or calming the nerve signals that make the muscles jerk or twitch.
Habit reversal training – This treatment involves working with a therapist who teaches people with Tourette syndrome to recognize when they are about to have a tic. Then, the people train themselves to do a different movement that makes it hard to do the tic. This treatment is not available everywhere.
How can I learn more about Tourette syndrome? — More information is available online from the Tourette Syndrome Association at It's also important to make sure that family, friends, teachers, and coworkers of people with Tourette syndrome learn about the disorder.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 83754 Version 4.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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