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To have Tourette means that a person has at least two different motor tics and at least one vocal tic, and has had tics for over a year. Having a tic is hard to control. The motor and vocal tics of Tourette are involuntary, meaning that people do not do the tic on purpose. While the exact cause of tics is still not known, many people compare the feeling of having a tic to having an itch or having to sneeze. You may try to stop the feeling, but eventually you will probably scratch or sneeze and you will feel a little better until the urge comes back.

When people try to hold back their tics, it can cause stress and the tic may become worse. It is true that some people with Tourette have difficulties throughout their lives.

Tourette's syndrome: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

It is also true that many people with Tourette are very successful. They are often high achievers and find that their tics can become less severe or go away when they are concentrating on a task at hand. Many people also have fewer tics as they grow up. There are people with Tourette who are successful in all walks of life and they work in many areas, including the arts, medicine, sports, and other professions.

CDC also works with the Tourette Association of America external icon to provide health information and education programs about Tourette , so that people with the condition can get the best available treatment and support. This work includes. Because tic symptoms do not often cause impairment, the majority of people with TS require no medication for tic suppression.


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However, effective medications are available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. There is no one medication that is helpful to all people with TS, nor does any medication completely eliminate symptoms. Effective medications are also available to treat some of the associated neurobehavioral disorders that can occur in patients with TS.

Although TS can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood. As a result, some individuals may actually become symptom free or no longer need medication for tic suppression. Findings from these studies will provide clues for more effective therapies.

Tourette Association of America Association dedicated to serving people with Tourette Syndrome and funding scientific research. TSA maintains chapters in each state and cooperates with contacts in 45 foreign countries. Complex tics including jumping, smelling objects, touching the nose, touching other people, coprolalia, or echolalia. Tics worsen in stressful situations and generally improve when a person is relaxed or sleeping.


  • Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet.
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  • Most tics are mild and not very noticeable. Others can be frequent and painful, interfering with many parts of a person's life and with his or her ability to function normally. TS affects an estimated , Americans. It is also estimated that 1 in Americans show a partial expression of the disorder, such as transient childhood tics. TS is three to four times more common in males than in females.

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    TS generally begins in childhood between the ages of 5 to 8 years and may be lifelong. Some symptoms disappear by early adulthood, while others may continue.


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    • Tourette Syndrome.
    • Often, TS becomes worse for children as they enter adolescence but improves in the late teens or early 20s. Some people with TS experience complete remission absence of symptoms after adolescence. In adulthood, the condition generally does not worsen and assumes a steady pattern.

      What is Tourette's syndrome?

      Even though not everyone outgrows TS, they can learn to adapt and often are able to mask their tics. People with TS can expect to live a normal life span. Not all people with TS will have a coexisting behavioral condition. Children with ADHD have difficulty following directions, concentrating, organizing tasks, and completing school work within time limits. Completing homework in a consistent and timely manner is also a problem for children with ADHD.

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      Children with TS also have learning disabilities which can include dyslexia as well as reading, writing, arithmetic, and perceptual difficulties. If ADHD and learning disabilities are managed appropriately, people with TS learn to focus their attention, develop their personal strengths, and become quite productive and successful.

      Myth: When diagnosing TS, a doctor must witness the person's tics in his or her office. Although it is helpful to see the tics demonstrated in the doctor's office, it is not necessary for a doctor to witness the tics to confirm the diagnosis. Many people, especially children, will suppress tics while being evaluated because they don't want the doctor to think of them as "weird" or "crazy. Because tics are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, physical and vocal tics are completely involuntary much like a sneeze.

      Although tics can be suppressed for a short time, the length of suppression is not under the individual's control. Eventually tension causes the tic to be released.