20 facts about Tourette Syndrome you may or may not know

In honor of Tourette Syndrome Awareness month, here are 20 facts about Tourette Syndrome courtesy of the Iowa Tourette Syndrome Association group:

  1. One in 100 children have some form of Tourette Syndrome. That is the same amount as children with autism.
  2. Less than 10 percent of people with TS swear, which is known as coprolalia.
  3. TS is an inherited neurological disorder named after Gilles De La Tourette.
  4. TS causes people to have tics. Tics are sudden twitches, movements or sounds that they do repeatedly. People with TS cannot stop these tics.
  5. No two people with TS will have the same tics. Each person with TS is as different as every snowflake.
  6. More than 79 percent of people with TS also have co-morbid conditions — ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders, sensory processing disorder (SPD) and dysgraphia, just to name a few.
  7. There are two types of tics, motor and vocal. Motor tics are movements of the body, such as blinking, shrugging of shoulders, limb movements, etc. Vocal tics are sounds people make, such as barking, sniffing, throat clearning, random words, etc.
  8. Tics can be simple or complex. Simple tics involve just a few body parts, such as eye blinking or sniffing. Complex tics involve several parts of the body and can have a set pattern, such as bobbing head while jerking arms, then finishing with a jump.
  9. Tics wax and wane and can increase and decrease and change throughout a person’s lifetime. Tics a person has an a young child could be different and at a different severity than when they are a teenager.
  10. Tics usually start around the age of 5 to 10 years old. The first tics are usually motor tics.
  11. Tics are usually worse during times of stress or excitement. They tend to improve when a person is calm and focused on an activity.
  12. Even though symptoms can change or appear or disappear, the condition is chronic.
  13. TS effects males 3 to 4 times more than females.
  14. There is no cure for TS, and there is currently no drug out there specifically made for TS.
  15. A misconception is that people can learn to stop their tics. They can, at times, hold them in (suppression), but eventually have to release them. Holding them in often results in tension and/or physical exhaustion.
  16. Individuals with TS are aware of an urge to time, similar to that of a sneeze or an itch. They describe it as a build up of tension, pressure or energy. The actual tic is a means of releasing or relieving this tension.
  17. TS is believed to result from a dysfunction of the thalamus, basil ganglia and frontal cortex regions of the brain. They believe there is a failure in the circuits connecting the brains cortex and subcortex.
  18. TS does not affect the intellegence of a person. In fact, most children with TS have above normal to high intellegence levels.
  19. Knowledge, education and understanding are very important for people with TS. Educating the patient, family, school and community are key in the treatment of TS.
  20. Children who try to suppress their tics while at school have a hard time focusing on what the teacher is teaching. Suppression of tics is physically exhausting, making it hard for them to live up to their potential at school.
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