Tourette's Disorder

Also known as: Tourette's syndrome, Tourette syndrome.

What is Tourette's disorder?

Tourette's disorder is a nervous system condition that causes children (boys three times more than girls, frequently starting between 2-15 years of age; average 6 years) with the condition to make sudden unwanted repetitive motions or sounds sometimes referred to as “tics”. Blinking the eyes repeatedly or blurting out sounds loudly are common symptoms of Tourette's disorder.

What causes Tourette's disorder? 

The exact cause of the brain abnormality is not known however a combination of genetic (runs in families), and environmental factors, are probably involved.

What are the symptoms of Tourette's disorder?

Tics can be simple or complex (involving many parts of the body) and some may be quite mild. Stress, excitement or being tired can make them worse. They vary in type and frequency, can occur during sleep and worsen during an illness. There are two types of tics: movement abnormalities and vocal tics. Movement abnormalities like arm or head jerking, shoulder shrugging, eye blinking, loud noises, and mouth twitching. Vocal tics like grunting, coughing, shouting, swearing, barking or yelping or throat clearing.

What are Tourette's disorder care options? 

Mild tics may not need treatment. A combination of medications and therapies such as psychotherapy and behavior therapy may be helpful in treating Tourette's disorder. Deep brain stimulation (DBS-a neurosurgical procedure involving the implantation of a device, a neurostimulator or “brain pacemaker”) may be beneficial for severe tics that don’t respond to other treatment.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2019 09:13 AM