Tourette syndrome is neurological. It is not mental health. Tourette syndrome is a condition that affects the brain and nerves, causing people to make repeated movements and sounds, also known as motor and vocal tics, that they cannot control.
Tourette syndrome or Tourette's syndrome is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood or adolescence. It is characterized by multiple movement tics and at least one vocal tic.
There are four types of tics.
Motor tics are movements of the body. Examples of motor tics include blinking, shrugging the shoulders, or jerking an arm.
Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with his or her voice. Examples of vocal tics include humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase.
Simple tics involve just a few parts of the body. Examples of simple tics include squinting the eyes or sniffing.
Complex tics usually involve several different parts of the body and can have a pattern. An example of a complex tic is bobbing the head while jerking an arm, and then jumping up. Tourette's is at the more severe end of a spectrum of tic disorders. The tics often go unnoticed by casual observers.
There is no cure for Tourette's and no single most effective medication. In most cases, medication for tics is not necessary, and behavioral therapies are the first-line treatment. Education is an important part of any treatment plan, and explanation alone often provides sufficient reassurance that no other treatment is necessary.
Among those who are referred to specialty clinics, other conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) are more likely than in the broader population of persons with Tourette's. These co-occurring diagnoses often cause more impairment to the individual than the tics; hence it is important to correctly distinguish co-occurring conditions and treat them.
Doctors and scientists do not know the exact cause of TS. Research suggests that it is an inherited genetic condition. That means it is passed on from parent to child through genes.