Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome is a disorder that makes sufferers perform tics , which are uncontrollable repetitive movements or speech . This condition usually begins between the ages of 2 and 15 and is more common in boys than girls.

Tics are common in children, but normally they don't last more than 1 year. However, in children with Tourette's syndrome, tics last longer than 1 year and manifest in a wide variety of behaviors.

Tourette's syndrome generally improves with age. However, sufferers may have to undergo treatment to treat other conditions that occur with Tourette's syndrome.

Tourette's syndrome is different from talkative. Latah usually occurs as an excessive reaction of surprise. While the tic symptoms in Tourette's syndrome occur spontaneously.

Causes of Tourette's Syndrome

Until now, the exact cause of Tourette's syndrome is still unknown. However, it is suspected that Tourette's syndrome is associated with the following:

  • Gene disorders inherited from parents
  • Abnormalities in brain chemicals ( neurotransmitters ) and in the structure or function of the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls body movement
  • Disturbances experienced by the mother during pregnancy or during childbirth, such as stress during pregnancy , labor that lasts a long time, or a baby born with a weight below normal

Tourette's Syndrome Risk Factors

Although the cause is unknown, there are a number of factors that can increase a child's risk of experiencing Tourette's syndrome, namely:

  • Male sex, with a risk 3-4 times higher than women
  • Have a family history of Tourette's syndrome or other tic disorders

Tourette's Syndrome Symptoms

A common symptom of Tourette's syndrome is uncontrollable repetitive movements known as tics . Tics can be classified into several types, namely:

Motor ticks

Motor tics are characterized by repeating the same movements. Motor tics can involve only certain muscle groups ( simple tics ), or several muscles at once ( complex tics ).

Some of the movements included in simple motor tics are:

  • Wink
  • Nod or shake your head
  • Shrug
  • Mouth moving

Whereas in complex motor tics , sufferers generally repeat movements, such as:

  • Touching or kissing an object
  • Mimics the movement of an object
  • Bending or twisting the body
  • Stepping in a certain pattern
  • Jump

Vocal tics

Vocal tics are characterized by making repetitive sounds. Like motor tics , vocal tics can occur in the form of simple tics or complex tics .

Some examples of simple vocal tics are:

  • Cough
  • cleared his throat
  • Sounds like an animal, like barking

Meanwhile, in complex vocal tics , the symptoms that appear include:

  • Repeating one's own words (palilalia)
  • Repeating other people's words ( echophenomena )
  • Saying rude and vulgar words (koprolalia)

Before the symptoms of motor tics or vocal tics appear, sufferers may experience certain sensations in the body, such as itching, tingling, or tension. The sensation will go away after the tic appears.

When to see a doctor

Immediately check with the doctor if your child shows symptoms or signs of tics . However, it should be noted that tics do not always signify Tourette's syndrome. Many children show tics , but they go away on their own after a few weeks or months.

Diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome is diagnosed by examining the patient's history of symptoms. Some of the criteria used to diagnose this syndrome are:

  • Tics started before the age of 18
  • Tics are not caused by drugs, substances, or other medical conditions
  • Tics occur several times a day, most days or intermittently, and last for more than 1 year
  • Sufferers experience motor and vocal tics , although not always at the same time

It should be noted, the tics symptoms in Tourette's syndrome can also be caused by other conditions. To rule out the possibility, the doctor will order blood tests and scans, such as an MRI .

Treatment of Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome with mild symptoms generally does not require treatment. But if the symptoms experienced are severe, interfere with activities, or endanger yourself, there are several treatment methods that can be done, namely:


The type of psychotherapy that can be used to treat Tourette's syndrome is cognitive behavioral therapy . This therapy aims to train the patient's awareness of their surroundings and exercise control of movement.

In addition, this therapy can also treat other conditions associated with Tourette's syndrome, such as ADHD and OCD ( obsessive compulsive disorder ). In psychotherapy sessions, the therapist may also use assistive methods such as hypnosis, meditation, and breathing or relaxation techniques.


Medicines are used to relieve the symptoms of tics . Some types of drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor are:

  • Antipsychotic drugs, such as risperidone, fluphenazine , and haloperidol
  • Antidepressants , such as fluoxetine
  • Botulinum toxin (botox) injections
  • Anticonvulsant drugs , such as topiramate

DBS ( deep brain stimulation )

Deep brain stimulation is the implantation of electrode implants into the patient's brain, to stimulate the brain's reaction. DBS is only recommended for people with Tourette's syndrome with severe symptoms and cannot be treated with other therapies.

In rare cases, children with Tourette's syndrome who are undergoing DBS therapy may experience speech disturbances, numbness, and bleeding. Therefore, first discuss with your doctor about the benefits and risks that can occur as a result of DBS therapy.

Support for People with Tourette's Syndrome

People with Tourette's syndrome generally have problems interacting with other people. This condition can also interfere with the patient's self-confidence. As a result, people with Tourette's syndrome are more prone to experience stress, depression, and drug abuse .

If you have a child with Tourette's syndrome, there are several things you can do, namely:

  • Always try to get accurate information about Tourette's syndrome.
  • Foster the child's self-confidence, for example by supporting the activities he chooses and supporting him playing with his friends.
  • Place the child in a small learning environment or private lessons, so they can develop better.
  • Join a support group according to the child's needs.

Remember that tics peak when they reach their teenage years, but they can get better with age.

Tourette's Syndrome Complications

In most cases, people with Tourette's Syndrome also have one or more specific conditions. However, it is not yet known why these conditions appear in people with Tourette's syndrome. These conditions are:

  • Behavioral disorders, experienced by 8 out of 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ), experienced by 6 out of 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • OCD ( obsessive-compulsive disorder ) or OCB ( obsessive-compulsive behavior ), which occurs in 6 out of 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • Learning disorders, which occur in 3 in 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • Self-harm behavior, which is experienced by 3 out of 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • Mood disorders , such as depression or anxiety disorders, are experienced by 2 in 10 children with Tourette's syndrome
  • Conduct disorder ( conduct disorder ), which affects 1-2 in 10 children with Tourette 's syndrome

Prevention of Tourette's Syndrome

As explained above, it is not known exactly what causes Tourette's syndrome. Therefore, it is not yet known how to prevent this disease. However, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of Tourette's syndrome getting worse.

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