Top 10 Tourette Syndrome Myths

Shelby Crockett has been a paralegal for nine years and owns the site How to Become a Paralegal. Her site helps students find the right paralegal school.

Those who have Tourette Syndrome are likely to encounter loads of misinformation and those who don’t understand the disease on a regular basis.  What Tourette Syndrome is and is not can be as confusing for both those who live with it as those who do not.  To help paint a clearer picture, we have gathered a few myths surrounding TS.

  1. More swearing – It is a common myth that those with TS swear often and uncontrollably.  In reality, only a small percentage of those with Tourette’s Syndrome have obscenity specific outbursts.  In fact, there is a special name for it: coprolalia.
  2. They are mentally challenged – Tourette Syndrome is not like Down’s Syndrome or cerebral palsy.  It is a neurological disorder that is characterized by involuntary movement and speech tics.
  3. It is extremely rare – It is estimated that every 1 in 100 children suffers from Tourette Syndrome, a higher number than those with autism.  Most of them go undiagnosed and misunderstood.
  4. Tourette Syndrome can be managed with concentration – Because TS stems from a chemical imbalance in the brain, there is no voluntary aspect to it whatsoever.  No matter how hard someone with TS concentrates, tics can still come.
  5. Only caucasians can get Tourette Syndrome – As with most diseases and disorders, anyone from any race is capable of being born with TS.
  6. TS is debilitating – Most people with Tourette Syndrome can go on to lead rich, fulfilling lives and take part in just about any activity as anyone else, especially if they are cared for properly.
  7. Tourette Syndrome stems from psychological trauma – This was the prevailing thought when TS first began to get diagnosed about a century ago.  Now, sophisticated imaging technology shows us that it is a neurological disorder.
  8. Those with TS can’t do jobs with fine motor functions – Another false truth, famous Canadian surgeon Dr. Matt Doran was able to do complex procedures even though he had Tourette Syndrome.
  9. They can’t be athletes – How far can someone with the involuntary tics associated with TS go in the sports world?  For Jim Eisenreich, all the way to the World Series of Major League Baseball in 1997.
  10. It gets worse as you get older – While some neurological disorders get worse with age, it is not generally so with Tourette Syndrome.  In fact, many who suffer from it go through the worst during adolescence and can even outgrow their tics in adulthood.
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