Tourette’s syndrome is a brain condition that starts in childhood. Children with Tourette’s syndrome make sound or movements such as coughing or twitching, that they cannot control. These are called tics.
Tourette’s syndrome is named after the doctor who first described this condition, Dr.George Gilles de la Tourette.
Causes and risk factors
The cause of Tourette’s syndrome is unknown.
The Tourette’s syndrome is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Having a family history of Tourette’s syndrome or other tic disorder may also increase the risk of Tourette’s syndrome. Other risk factors include causes like consumption of excessive coffee, alcohol, tobacco during pregnancy, or stress, low birth weight and signs of brain injury etc.
It is more common in boys than girls.
Tourette’s syndrome causes people to have ‘tics’. Tics are sudden twitches, movements or sounds that people do repeatedly.
The tics cannot be controlled. The people who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. Sometimes people can stop themselves from doing a certain tic for a while, but it is hard. Eventually the person has to do the tic. Tics usually start at about age 2.they may be at their worst by age 12.Tics tending to decrease during late teenage years. They can continue into adulthood but happen less often and are less severe. Many people with Tourette’s syndrome do not need treatment if their symptoms are mild.
Most children with Tourette’s syndrome have different patterns of tics. The tics may not be obvious. They can be burst of movements/sounds that last for seconds/minutes.
Tics can be movements such as:-
Flapping of arms
Jerking of neck
Twitching or blinking of the eye
Tics can also include sounds such as:-
Coughing or throat clearing
Repeating words or phrases
Motor tics usually begin before vocal tics do.
It is common for a person who has Tourette’s syndrome to feel an urge in some part of the body that builds and builds. This urge is called premonitory urge. A premonitory urge can only be relieved by performing the tic. Some people with Tourette’s syndrome feel that they need to complete a tic in a certain way or a certain number of times for the urge to go away.
Tics are classified as simple tics and complex tics.
Simple tics are sudden, brief and repetitive such as eye blinking or head jerks. They affect a small number of muscle groups.
Complex tics are distinct, coordinated patterns of movements that affect several muscle groups. They are slower, longer and more purposeful movements such as gestures with hands or throwing with the hands or throwing or touching objects.
Evolve into different tics over time.
Happen during sleep
Vary in type, frequency and severity
Worsen during teenage years and improve during the transition into adulthood.
Worsen if child is ill, stressed, anxious, tired or excited.
If you notice your child displaying involuntary movements or sounds, consult a physician. Not all tics are Tourette’s syndrome. Many children have tics that last a few weeks or months before going away on their own.
Many people eventually outgrow tics .But severe tics may interfere with communication, daily activities and quality of life.
A physician can diagnose Tourette’s syndrome based on child’s medical history, signs and symptoms and a physical examination. The physician may want to know if the tics are causing social or school problems for the child.
There are no specific tests to diagnose Tourette’s syndrome but in some cases tests may be done to check for health problem that may cause similar symptoms. These tests may include blood tests, CT SCAN, MRI, EEG etc.
Tourette’s syndrome may happen along with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), learning or behavior problem.
Treatment for Tourette’s syndrome focuses on helping a child cope with tics. Various Homoeopathic medicines have been found to be useful in management of tics such as Agaricus, Hyosymus Nig, Belladona, Stramonium, Gelsemium, Nux Vomica , Aconite etc which can be taken only after consultation with a qualified Homeopathic physician.