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TOURETTE SYNDROME. By: Nathan Kim. 4th period Mr. Jocham. What is Tourette Syndrome?.

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By: Nathan Kim

4th period

Mr. Jocham


What is Tourette Syndrome?

  • Tourette syndrome is a condition that affects a person’s central nervous system and causes tics. Tics are unwanted twitches, movements, or sounds that people make. To have Tourette syndrome, a person must have two tics that affect body movement and one that is a sound.

Motor Ticks

  • There are several types of motor ticks which are simple motor tics and complex motor tics.
  • Simple motor ticks includes: eye blinking, squinting, head jerking, facial grimacing, nose-twitching, lip smacking, tongue thrusting, mouth opening, leg jerking, arm flexing or flapping, and many others.
  • Complex motor tics includes: hitting self or others, jumping, touching self or others, smelling hands or objects, clapping, pinching, touching objects, hopping, kicking, throwing, squating, foot tapping or shaking, scratching, pulling at clothes, and many more.

Vocal Tics

  • Vocal ticks also have two types of ticks which are simple vocal tics and complex vocal tics.
  • Simple vocal ticks includes: throat clearing, grunts, sniffs, snorts, squeaking, coughs, humming, screaming, spitting, whistling, honking, stuttering, laughing, shouting, barking, moaning, hiccups, squealing, and many more.
  • Complex vocal ticks include: any understandable words of phrases, and it also may include echoing.

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

  • Motor tics can be simple, such as forceful eye blinking, or complex, such as bending over and touching the ground.
  • Vocal tics, which are repetitive involuntary stereotyped vocalizations, are usually unintelligible sounds, such as sniffing, grunting or throat clearing, but they can also be complex, such as uttering whole phrases.
  • Other complex motor and vocal phenomena, which are much less common than simple tics, include coprolalia (involuntary and affectively inappropriate swearing), copropraxia (involuntary and affectively inappropriate use of obscene gestures), echolalia (involuntary repetition of speech of others), echopraxia (involuntary imitation of the actions of others), and palilalia (involuntary repetition of parts of the individual's own speech).

Can people with Tourette Syndrom control their tics?

  • Some people can sometimes suppress their ticks. However, it will buildup in tension when suppressing their ticks, and they eventually have to let it out.

Will my tics ever go away?

  • Some who suffer with Tourette Syndrome will often disappear sometime between the ages of 20 and 24. Most of the people who are suffering this are not lucky. It usually appear before the age of 18, mostly around the age of 7.

Is Tourette Syndrome inherited?

  • Some researchers believe that the evidence from twin and family studies suggests that Tourette’s Syndrome is an inherited disorder.
  • Although there may be a few genes with substantial effect, it is also possible that many genes with smaller effects and environmental factors play a major role in the development of Tourette’s Syndrome.
  • At-risk males are more likely to have tics and at-risk-females are more likely to have obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

What causes Tourette Syndrome?

  • Researchers are still unknown what causes this syndrome, but current research points to abnormalities in certain brain regions such as basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and the cortex. They also believe that there is something wrong with the circuits that interconnect these regions, and the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) responsible for communication among nerve cells.

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

  • TS is often associated with obsessive-compulsive symptomatology (examples: excessive hand washing, checking rituals, or hoarding behaviors), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other behavioral problems, although these are not part of the current diagnostic criteria.

Treatment of Tourette Syndrome

  • People with life-disrupting symptoms can often suppress them with one of several drugs that affect the chemistry of the brain, including haloperidol (Haldol), clonidine (Catapres), pimozide (Orap), fluphenazine (Prolixin), clomipramine (Anafranil), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • However, the medications have side effects that themselves can be life-disrupting, like somnolence, and some people with Tourette's refuse medication, finding its symptoms less troublesome than those caused by drugs.
  • Family counseling and psychotherapy may be useful to help cope with adjustment problems associated with the social stigma common in more severe cases.

Types of Treatment of Tourette Syndrome

  • Medical Treatment of Tics and Movements in Tourette Syndrome: Neuroleptics (Haldol, Orap, Risperdal), Clonidine, and serotinin drugs.
  • Medical Treatment of OCD in Tourette Syndrome: Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Anagranil, and Augment with dopamine agents or Klonopin.
  • Medical Treatment of Attention Deficit (ADHD) in Tourette Syndrome: Ritalin, Tenex, Clonidine, and Tricyclics.

What does it feel like to have a Tourette Syndrome?

  • It feels awful to have a Tourette Syndrome. I can not live like a normal person. I always wanted be a normal person and have friends. It is hard for me to make friends because people think that I am dangerous, weird, freak, and a loser. They make fun of the way I walk, talk, and my actions. School life is hard for me to operate because of this syndrome. People look at me differently and pick on me.


  • I can’t stop jerking my head and my neck! It is like having a hiccup and does it by itself. Many people talk about me behind my back, and it really hurt my feelings. It makes me not want to go to school anymore or be out in the public.

Very Annoying

  • It is hard not to shrug my shoulders. I have to do it until it feels “right.” It is like feeling itchy and you have to itch it. I don’t really want to scratch it, but I just can’t help it. I try to hold it in, but eventually I will have to shrug my shoulders. That is what it feels like. I have to keep doing it constantly until I feel like it is just right.

What tics me off!!

  • I hate it when I have to keep clearing my throat. Not only that, I also have to snort, grunt, or bark often. Yes, barking. I also usually hop, bend, twist, and jump often. It is embarrassing doing all this stuff during school because people around me think that I am weird and a freak. This is what I have to face everyday at school.


  • One of the worst symptoms of having a Tourette Syndrome is that I sometimes punch myself. I usually hit myself in the head. I can not control it, and it just does it by itself. I usually get a bruise on my head, and I often visit the doctors.

Verbally Aggressive

  • I also have some vocal tics. I keep uttering swear words, which is called coprolalia. I tend to utter swear words for no reason, and kids next to me are frightened of me and think that I am a loser. I also repeat words, which is called echolalia. I keep repeating the same words over and over again, and I can tell by looking other people’s faces thinking that I am weird.

My Class Life

  • Tourette Syndrome also include other symptoms such Hyperactivity with or without Attention Deficit disorder (ADHD). It includes poor concentration, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. I often fidget with hands or feet. I have difficulty time remaining seated when I am required to do so. I am easily distracted and have hard time waiting turn in games or group activities. I often blurt out answers to questions before that have been completed. I also have difficult time following instructions.

Academic Problems

  • Having a Tourette Syndrome has affected my academic tremendously. I have a difficult time organizing my work and have a hard time listening to others. I also often talk excessively, interrupt or intrude on others, often loses things necessary for activities at school or at home, and often engage in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

One of the symptoms for Tourette Syndrome is having an OCD. Some obsessions that I encounter includes:

  • Being concerned with symmetry, exactness, cleanliness, order.
  • Needing to know or remember things.
  • Over focusing on minute details.
  • Having to have "JUST RIGHT" feeling.
  • Being concerned about dirt or germs.
  • Having aggressive thoughts, images, impulses.
  • Touching objects an exact number of times.
  • Needing to start over if interrupted.
  • Repeatedly asking the same question.
  • Sucking thumb.
  • Excessive hand washing, bathing, cleaning.
  • Writing and rewriting until paper looks perfect.

Behavioral Concerns

  • Having Tourette Syndrome has given me mood changes, quick temper, difficulties with impulse control, and a defiant behavior. This has given me hard time to make friends. They think that I am weird and a loser. They feel like they are not safe around me.