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Turrets Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Turrets Syndrome?

Turrets syndrome is an inherited disorder affecting the neuropsychiatry. It has multiple names like Turret’s disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome or GTS or TS. It is characterized by multiple physical tics and a vocal tic. This syndrome is part of a tic disorders’ spectrum that has transient and chronic tics.

Turrets Syndrome was considered to be a rare and bizarre syndrome. It is associated with obscene words and socially inappropriate. However this symptom is present to small number of Turrets syndrome’s patients. This syndrome is not considered to be a rare condition anymore, but it is not identified correctly, because it is considered to be mild.

Turrets Syndrome Symptoms

The tics are being classified into simple and complex.

Simple Tics

These simple tics are brief, sudden, repetitive movements that have limited numbers of muscle groups. The common simple tics are eye blinking, vision irregularities, shoulder shrugging, head and shoulder jerking and facial grimacing. Vocal tics include sniffing, throat clearing and grunting sounds.

Complex Tics

They are distinct and coordinated movement patterns that involve several muscle groups. Complex tics are facial grimacing that has head twisting and shoulder shrugging. Other complex tics look like purposeful, like sniffing, hopping, bending and twisting, touching objects and jumping. Complex vocal tics have words and phrases in it. Other tics can injure one self, which are dangerous.

More common Tics

Motor Tics

Simple Tics

  • Eye Blinking
  • Head Jerking
  • Shoulder Shrugging
  • Finger Flexing
  • Eye Darting
  • Sticking the Tongue Out

Complex Tics

  • Touching the Nose
  • Smelling objects
  • Hopping
  • Touching other people
  • Obscene gestures
  • Flapping the arms

Vocal Tics

Simple Tics

  • Hiccups
  • Throat clearing
  • Yelling
  • Barking

Complex Tics

  • Repeating words and phrases
  • Using other voice intonations
  • Using expletives

Tics are varying on types, severity and frequency over time. During times of stress, fatigue, anxiety, excitement and illness, tics can worsen. They can also occur during sleep. Before the onset of a tic, whether motor or vocal, one can experience a premonitory urge. This urge is a bodily sensation that is uncomfortable, like itch, tension and tingle.

There are different tics that can develop in time. Turrets syndrome is worst during teenage years and can improve during the adulthood transition. There are people who can temporarily stop or prevent a tic. They ca hold back the tics until they can find a place where they can express it less disruptively.

Turrets Syndrome Causes

The exact cause of Turret’s syndrome is still unknown. However, it is known that genetics and the environmental factors are being involved in the syndrome. There are studies that show majority of the Turret’s syndrome’s case are being inherited, but the mode of inheritance is still unknown, and there is no identified gene. Sporadic are tics that are not inherited. A Turrets syndrome patient has a 50% probability that his/ her genes may be passed to his/ her children. This is so because it affects the genes of a person.

Turrets Syndrome Treatment

There are children who don’t need medicines, but there are some who may need. But it is important to get the right diagnosis for the child. This will make it easier in understanding the behavior of the child. If you are suffering from Turrets plus other conditions, you need to prioritize which of your conditions you must treat. The medications that you will take for your tics are not the same medications you will take for your other conditions. Also, there are treatments for a certain condition that can worsen other conditions. You may want to learn that.


The medications for TS are to help the symptoms to reduce. The most commonly prescribed medicines are:

  • Clinidine hydrochloride
  • Clonidine, a medication for blood pressure that is found to reduce tics
  • Guanfacine



Turrets syndrome is not caused by psychological problems. But psychotherapy can help the person to cope with the condition and be able to deal with the social and emotional problems which can occur in time. Suppression of the tics cannot be helped by psychotherapy. Psychotherapy and family counseling can help the patient to cope with the problems of adjusting with the condition. It can help a person suffering from the condition to get rid of the problems and move on with his/ her life.

Techniques in relaxation can help alleviate the stress, which lead to increasing of tic symptoms. Stress can worsen the tics, and so, it is necessary that someone knows how to manage stress to relieve him from tic. It is very much important to do so to help him from worsening his condition.

Education and support

The patient and his family must be educated with the course of the condition. As time passes, the tics will decrease in frequency and intensity. There should be a proper treatment so that the tics will not affect the school life, the work and the relationship of a person. There are self help groups that can help patients as well. You can ask help from these groups. More probably, these groups are patients or has family members who have Turrets syndrome.

There is no cure for Turrets syndrome, but the condition can improve for many individuals as time passes. It is expected that they live a normal life. Even though the condition is lifelong and chronic, its condition is not a degenerative one.

Turrets syndrome can be managed by accurate and timely diagnosis, behavior interventions and education.

Other things one must know about Turrets syndrome treatment

There are children whoa re suffering from Turrets syndrome are also suffering form ADHD, or Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They can also have obsessive-compulsive disorder and learning disability. It is best that you consult with your doctor to find out if your children possess any of these conditions.

Tics can affect not just one family member. It can affect other members of the family. Turrets syndrome can be considered to be the possible cause of a child that has a learning disability.

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