Tourette Syndrome

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder that is inherited or genetically acquired. It is known to be the main cause to produce tics in children and younger people. Tourette Syndrome is a model neuropsychiatric disorder that seems absorbing in its simplicity. The main symptom of Tourette syndrome is Tics. A tic is a sudden, rapid, involuntary movement in our body that is reduced during sleeping.

excessive eye blinking, eye-rolling, squinting, facial grimacing, head nodding, shoulder shrugging, neck twisting, and limb jerking are the most common simple tic seen in humans. 

Childhood Tics are common and have been reported to occur in four to 18 percent of younger people, with many studies finding tics in about 10 percent of children. In nearly All studies, tics were commonly found in boys than in girls. Tics have a variety of causes but only some of these are related to Tourette Syndrome.

The exact cause of Tourette Syndrome is unknown but more importantly, it is a complex disorder likely caused by the combination of inherited and environmental factors. Chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses, including dopamine and serotonin, have a role in this particular disorder. 

Experts believe that irregularities in the basal ganglia(A group of structures found deep within the cerebral hemispheres of the brain) may cause unevenness in levels of brain neurotransmitters, which transfer messages from one cell to another. Abnormal neurotransmitter levels may obstruct normal brain function, resulting in tics.

Another theory is that a childhood illness may trigger tics. Infection with group A streptococcal bacteria has been connected with symptoms of Tourette’s. It may be that the bacteria cause the immune system to produce antibodies that interact with brain tissue, and this brings about changes in the brain.

There are many disorders similar to Tourette Syndrome and they need to be considered in what doctors call “differential diagnosis”.

Disorders such as Transient tic Disorder, chronic multiple tic, and tardive tourettism are the common tics that can diagnose the human brain.

A transient tic disorder is diagnosed when there are single or multiple motor and vocal tics which occur for at least four weeks, but not longer than 12 consecutive months. Also, The onset of tics must be before the 18th birthday.

Chronic Multiple tic disorder diagnoses when there are single or multiple motor and vocal tics, which occurs longer than 12 months. Also, The onset of tics must be before 18 years.

There’s no cure for Tourette’s syndrome and most children with tics do not need treatment for them and it is not considered as a mental illness rather than just a disorder. Treatment may sometimes be recommended to help tics to be under control but it is not needed.

Behavioral therapy is usually a natural way of controlling tics which is provided by a psychologist or a specially trained therapist. There are 2 types of behavioral therapy that have been shown to reduce tics:

Habit reversal training – this method involves working out the feelings that trigger tics; the next stage is to find an alternative, less noticeable way of relieving the urge to tic.

Exposure with response prevention (ERP) – this process trains you to better control your urge to tic; procedures are used to recreate the urge to tic to train you to tolerate the feeling, without doing the tic, until the urge passes.

Some people’s tics are helped with medicines, but this is normally only recommended if the tics are more severe or affecting regular activities. Medicines for Tourette’s syndrome can have side effects and they will not work for everyone.

In the end, If a person is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome or Tics, they shouldn’t be afraid or be shy to appear in the people, instead, they should consider it as a normal activity of their brain. As much as 138,000 are diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in the United States which means that You are not alone or different, but consider it a gift granted by god.

Featured image retrived from:

https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/health/article/2016/05/27/immune-system-link-alzheimers-protein

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tourette-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20350465#:~:text=Tourette%20(too%2DRET)%20syndrome,unusual%20sounds%20or%20offensive%20words.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Tourette-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/facts.html

https://www.webmd.com/brain/tourettes-syndrome#1

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/tourette.html

Additional Resources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tourettes-syndrome/

Aadin Zeeshan

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