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Myths and truths about Tourette Syndrome

Ever since George Gilles de la Tourette discovered Tourette have people discussed and questioned real signs of the syndrome. Everything starting with how the disorder manifest and ending with the ways it should be treated is being discussed by doctors, patients and their relatives for over 100 years.

The general meaning of the syndrome is described as a neurological disorder which is characterized by frequent involuntary vocal tics and movements.

According to a PhD clinical researcher and doctor Douglas Woods, Tourette happens in 6 to 1000 people. Adults and kids suffering from the disorder can experience numerous problems like repetitive strain injuries, numbness, and ADHD. Kids suffering from Tourette increase chances of getting ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) 60% more.

In this article we will go through top myths and truths about Tourette syndrome to create a clear picture of the disorder:

  • Myth #1. Everyone with Tourette syndrome use obscenities uncontrollably. The majority of people describe Tourette syndrome as such that makes you swear uncontrollably, in fact some believe it to be the definition of the syndrome as they often see in movies. However, only 10% of people with the syndrome experience it.
  • Myth #2. Tourette is caused by bad parenting. Doctor Woods says that the syndrome is genetically based. And although scientists couldn’t isolate a single gene, they came to a conclusion that it is a complex of genes that causes the syndrome, which proves that it has nothing to do with parenting.
  • Myth #3. Fear causes tics. Some people think that tics caused by Tourette syndrome are actually caused by nervous surrounding and fearful environment around the patient. In reality, it has nothing to do with the way of living, it is caused by the basal ganglia dysfunction, involved in motor control.
  • Myth #4. Medication is the only treatment. It appears that medication is not the only treatment when it comes to Tourette. If tics aren’t repetitive enough, individuals, especially children can be cured with a help of behavior therapy. The therapy teaches patients to recognize the time when tic is about to happen in order to control and even prevent it. People with Tourette syndrome admit to experience a premonitory urge right before the tic, which can be expressed as an itch or tickle.
  • Myth #5. Teaching kids to recognize tics can increase their repetitiveness. Researcher found that kids who have successfully suppress tics, do not have an increase in tics. The lasts study showed that in some cases, tics decreased by 17 % after the therapy.
  • Myth #6. People with Tourette cannot lead normal, active lives. On the contrary, people diagnosed with Tourette syndrome tend to be highly successful people. David Beckham, Michael Wolf, Dan Ackroyd and Marc Summers are living illustrations of successful people who have Tourette. 
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