Could I Have Tourette’s?

Learn about the symptoms of Tourette syndrome this International TS Awareness Day…

What Is Tourette’s?

Tourette syndrome causes a person to make repeated sudden sounds and movements involuntarily. These are called tics. A person has no control over these tics, and they cannot simply stop doing it. Think of how you feel when you try to stop a hiccup – no matter how hard you try, it will always burst out. A person who has Tourette’s can also try to ‘hold in’ their tic, but they may eventually need to do the tic.

What Kind Of Tics Are There?

There are two different kinds of tics – physical and vocal. Physical tics could include:

  • Grimacing
  • Eye rolling
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Blinking
  • Jerking the head or limbs
  • Jumping or twirling
  • Touching people or objects

Some examples of vocal tics are:

  • Tongue clicking
  • Throat clearing
  • Grunting
  • Whistling
  • Coughing
  • Animal sounds
  • Whooping
  • Repeating a sound or phrase
  • Saying random words or phrases
  • Swearing

It’s a bit of an urban myth that everyone with Tourette’s swears uncontrollably. In fact, only 1 in 10 people with Tourette’s swears*. Tics are often worse if a person is stressed, anxious or tired. A person’s tics will often occur in a pattern, such as jerking an arm and then whistling immediately afterwards.

Does Having A Tic Mean I Have Tourette’s?

Not always, no, although tics are the main symptom of Tourette’s. Some people who have mild tics grow out of them while others develop more severe tics. A person who ends up being diagnosed with Tourette’s usually has several tics, both physical and vocal.

How Is Tourette’s Diagnosed?

There is no simple test for diagnosing Tourette’s. If you think you might have Tourette syndrome, talk to your GP who will be able to evaluate you. They may refer you to another medical professional who will examine you to find out more about your tics and how long you’ve had them. Usually, Tourette’s can be diagnosed if a person has had both motor and physical tics for more than a year.

Is there treatment for Tourettes?

There are lots of treatments available to help a person manage their tics. Tics can make everyday life very difficult and stressful for a person so learning new techniques to manage their tics can help to improve their quality of life. Behavioural therapy and medicines (or sometimes a mix of the two) can be used to reduce tics.

Get More Help & Info

To learn more about Tourette’s, visit Tourettes Action.

*Source: NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tourettes-syndrome/


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