Tourette Syndrome and Tics

Tics and Tourette syndrome are neuropsychiatric disorders that often start in childhood. Children coping with Tourette syndrome make uncontrollable sounds or movements-such as coughing or eye blinking. Onset is typically in early childhood.

What causes a tic?

Brief periods of tics in childhood currently cannot be explained in most cases. Tics in young children are common and often are not related to other medical, physical or emotional problems. In older children, tics have been associated with psychiatric issues such as anxiety. About 10% of Americans have a mild tic disorder, some may not even be aware of it.

What causes Tourette’s syndrome disorder?

Patients tend to have a genetic tendency toward Tourette syndrome. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 10. Symptoms can range from tiny, minor movements (coughing, a light twitch or grunts) to constant movements and loud sounds.

How is it diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, a person must have several different types of tics – specifically, multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. They must also have the tics many times a day for a period of more than a year. About 3 in every 1,000 people cope with the syndrome and boys are four times more likely to be affected.

How is Tourette Syndrome treated?

Each case is very individualized. Treatments vary from simple observation to medications, but often doctors can help patients more by learning to live with the syndrome.


Tourette Syndrome Association –