Medical Tourette's Syndrome

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What is Tourette Syndrome?
"Tourette Syndrome: * Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Tourette Syndrome or TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence between the ages of 2 and 15.* Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year.* Many people have only motor tics or only vocal tics.* The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk.* These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid.* The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk, and limbs."*

"These involuntary (outside the patient's control) tics may also be complicated, involving the entire body, such as kicking and stamping. Many person report what are described as premonitory urges -- the urge to perform a motor activity. Other symptoms such as touching, repetitive thoughts and movements and compulsions can occur.*"

"There are also verbal tics.* These verbal tics (vocalizations) usually occur with the movements; later they may replace one or more motor tics.* These vocalizations include grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking.* The verbal tics may also be expressed as coprolalia (the involuntary use of obscene words or socially inappropriate words and phrases) or copropraxia (obscene gestures). Despite widespread publicity, coprolalia/copropraxia is uncommon with tic disorders."

Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
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One of the engineers I used to work with had Tourette's and barked like seal all the time.

A girl I worked with recently had something wrong, and everyone talked about her behind her back, which really ticked me off. :mad: She was so nice and incredibly intelligent but she was extremely loud and would stamp her foot like a horse and be unaware of it. She had a lot of quirks like speaking too loud, jerking movements, getting too close.

A guy I worked with years ago would be talking to you in the office and suddenly start doing ballet "kicks", but I think he was just weird. :bugeye:


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My first cousin's first cousin (is that a second cousin or a first cousin once removed?) has Tourette Syndrome. I haven't seen him in years (since I moved away from home and he also has moved from the area, we no longer see each other at family gatherings), so the last time I saw him, I was still a teenager. He was on some sort of medication (I remember the "grown ups" discussing whether it was right to medicate him since it seemed to make him act a bit "stoned.") When he was on his medication, it was barely noticeable; once in a while he'd seem to just flinch an arm or eye in a mild tic, but if he was late to take his next dose or wasn't taking it, it was much more noticeable. When I was a small child, having seen him often, it never occurred to me anything was wrong with him, I just thought he did those things to be funny (he's 4 or 5 years older than I am; I don't remember exactly now). Later I came to understand it was part of the syndrome and not something he could control, but by then, I had grown so accustomed to his tics and periodic outbursts that it was almost a non-event when it happened.

Growing up around him also helped me be more patient when talking with stutterers (unrelated to Tourette's of course). Having learned that sometimes his tics got in the way of speaking, sometimes you had to wait for him to be able to finish a sentence. Too many people, when talking to someone who stutters, want to finish their sentences for them, so having the patience to wait for them to finish their own sentences is something I've been told is appreciated.
One of my sons friends has this disorder. He would suppress{as best he could}his major ticks, say if we were at the movies. It was torture for him to be in a crowded room. But the minute we got to the parking lot, he's let loose. You could see the relief on his face.
I saw The Aviator a couple weeks ago and have been doing a little reading about OCD and Tourettes, which, apparently from the film, both tormented Howard Hughs at various times in his life.

A book from the library says it commonly co-occurs with OCD, ADHD, and various Sleep Disorders like sleep walking. A different book on Asperger's mentions Tourettes as sometimes co-occuring with that condition.

I have never actually known anyone with Tourettes, although I have twice encountered people "ticcing" in restaurants, and once stood behind a man with "copralalia" in a grocery store line.

According to the book I have, people with the disorder suffer much more from the way people react than from the tics themselves. It's easy to see how they could become completely alienated.
hypatia said:
One of my sons friends has this disorder. He would suppress{as best he could}his major ticks, say if we were at the movies. It was torture for him to be in a crowded room. But the minute we got to the parking lot, he's let loose. You could see the relief on his face.
That's another thing this book mentions: they can suppress it for a time, but it still has to come out later. The impulses don't just go away under suppression. One person describes it as a terrible itch that you don't have to scratch immediately, but it gets worse and worse the longer you don't.

The cause is believed to have something to do with over-sensitivity to the neurotransmitter dopamine in an area of the brain called the caudate nucleus which governs the control of motor impulses.
That is the sad part about my sons friend, he is very smart, school was a nightmare for him. Even tho he finished with 4.0 in highschool, he opted to work in a factory, where he would be less noticed, then to go on to a higher education.

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