What is Tourette’s Syndrome?
Tourette’s is an intriguing disorder. Fully known as Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome, this disorder was so named because French neurologist Georges Albert Edouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette first described the medical symptoms for this condition in 1884. The bizarre symptoms, often including visible and frequent motor tics and the screaming of obscenities, as well as its rarity, make this disorder a topic of interest. This paper examines Tourette’s syndrome with a focus on the symptoms and causes, the kinds of treatments available for this disorder, and what may be the best treatment method for patients.
Tourette’s Syndrome typically onsets during childhood. The most obvious symptoms are the motor and verbal tics, known as coprolalia and copropraxia, respectively referring to the involuntary display of rude words and gestures. “Tics” are defined as repeated and involuntary muscle contractions and sounds. The frequency of the tics is known to fluctuate and include eye blinking, twitching, grunting, and head shaking. (Phelps, 2008) The afflicted often will have social inappropriateness, trouble with the law, coprolalia, and copropraxia (Channon et al, 2009).
Both types of tics must be present in order to diagnose the person with Tourette’s. If only one symptom is present, the patient’s disorder would be diagnosed as either chronic motor or visual tic disorder. Tics may occur from one to a thousand times per hour (Friedman, 1980). In addition to this criteria, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) dictates that these symptoms must be present for more than one year. This disorder typically appears at the age of 9 for children and is three times more common in males than in females. Its prevalence rates are 0.6% and 0.8% for children and adolescents. The broader category of chronic tic disorders has a higher prevalence rate of 3% to 5% (Phelps, 2008).