Tourette’s Syndrome – What It Is, Causes and Treatments

Tourette Syndrome – What it is, Causes and Drug Treatments. In addition, Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disease. It causes repeated, involuntary physical movements and vocal outbursts. The exact cause is unknown. Tourette ‘s Syndrome is the most serious type of tic syndrome. Tics are involuntary muscle spasms. They consist of abrupt, intermittent contractions of a group of muscles. The most common forms of tics involve: Blinking, grimacing, Shoulder movements and head movements.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Cerebrovascular Accidents , about 200,000 people in Brazil have severe symptoms of Tourette Syndrome . About 1 in 100 Americans experience milder symptoms. The syndrome affects males nearly four times more often than females.

Causes of Tourette Syndrome: Tourette  is a highly complex syndrome. It involves abnormalities in various parts of your brain and the electrical circuits that connect them. An abnormality may exist in your basal ganglia, the part of your brain that contributes to your control of motor movements.

The chemicals in your brain that transmit nerve impulses may also be involved. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters. They include dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Tourette ‘s cause is unknown and there is no way to avoid it.

Researchers believe that an inherited genetic defect may be the cause. But they still haven’t identified the specific genes directly related to Tourette . Still, family clusters were identified. These clusters lead researchers to believe that genetics play a role for some people with Tourette ‘s .

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome:  Symptoms can vary from one person to another. They usually appear between the ages of 3 and 9, starting with small muscle tics in your head and neck. Eventually, other tics may appear on your torso and limbs.

People diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome usually have a motor tic and a vocal tic. Symptoms tend to get worse during periods of excitement, stress, or anxiety . They are usually most severe during the late teens.

According to the Mayo Clinic, tics are classified by type, such as motor or vocal. Additional classification includes simple or complex tics. Simple tics usually involve only one muscle group and are brief. Complex tics are coordinated patterns of movements or vocalizations that involve multiple muscle groups.

Diagnosing Tourette’s Syndrome:  Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. Diagnosis requires a motor and a vocal tic for at least a year. Some conditions can mimic Tourette ‘s , so your doctor may order imaging studies, such as an MRI, CT, or EEG. But these imaging studies are not necessary to make a diagnosis. People with Tourette ‘s often have other conditions as well, including:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • a learning disability
  • a sleep disorder
  • an anxiety disorder

Tourette Syndrome Treatments:  If your tics aren’t severe, you may not need treatment. But if they are severe or cause you to harm yourself, several treatments are available. Your doctor may also recommend treatments if your tics get worse during adulthood.

Antipsychotic medications have been shown to be useful in reducing the intensity of tics, when their repetition is detrimental to self-esteem and social acceptance. In some cases of well-localized tics, local injections of botulinum toxin (botox) may be attempted. Some authors argue that, exceptionally, surgical treatment with deep brain stimulation may be indicated, applied to certain areas of the brain .

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