Tourette's syndrome (TS) - medical information

Tourette's syndrome (TS) is a neurological condition.

It affects one schoolchild in every hundred; although as TS is a spectrum condition some children are either not aware of it or have symptoms which are so mild that they do not require any intervention.

Symptoms of Tourette's syndrome

  • The key features of Tourette Syndrome (TS) are tics, involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements.
  • TS is a complex condition and covers a wide spectrum of symptoms.
  • One of the most common beliefs is that all people with TS swear uncontrollably.
  • However, only 10 per cent of people with TS have a swearing tic, which is called coprolalia.
  • Each person with TS has different tics and will experience diverse symptoms.
  • TS typically starts in childhood and the average age for diagnosis in the UK is seven years.
  • For about half of children with TS the condition will continue into adulthood.
  • The other 50 per cent will see a reduction in the symptoms of their TS by the end of their teenage years.

Causes of Tourette's syndrome

  • Tourette's syndrome (TS) is a complex, neurological condition and it is not yet known what causes it.
  • The condition is hereditary and a person with TS has, roughly, a 50 per cent chance of passing on the gene to their children.
  • This doesn’t mean, though, that the child will inherit an identical form of TS.
  • Their condition may be milder or more severe than their parents' and they may display different types of tics.
  • So far no single gene has been convincingly identified, and exactly how TS is inherited is not clear.

Treatments for Tourette's syndrome

  • Although there is no cure for Tourette's syndrome (TS) there are reports of different drugs being used successfully in a small number of TS patients.
  • Behaviour therapy is also a way of helping to control tics rather than taking medication and it is possible to use behavioural therapy alongside medical treatments.
  • The emerging popular psychological treatment for TS is known as CBiT (Comprehensive Behavioural intervention for Tics).

Info sourced from http://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/ (charity recommended by NHS Choices)

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