Symptoms and Causes of Tourette Syndrome

By March 29, 2022 No Comments

Tourette Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes

Tourette Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes

Just like computer game glitches sometimes, human bodies do too. But these glitches are in the forms of tics and twitches. This is something you can’t stop yourself from doing. For example, you might make a grunting sound unwillingly and have no control over it. You can’t stop it, and you won’t know when it’ll happen.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette’s syndrome is a medical term for people with these frequent ‘tics.’ This condition can emerge at any age, usually between 6 and 18 years. These can occur as mumbling sounds, twitches, body movements, or constant eye blinking. Tourette’s syndrome involves at least one vocal tic and multiple physical tics. Some more examples of tics include:

  • Clicking fingers
  • Jerking arms
  • Shrugging
  • Wrinkling your nose
  • Coughing and sniffing
  • Repeating sounds or phrases
  • Touching things
  • Clearing throat

Tics are mostly random, and you have no control over them. In some cases, focusing on or talking about tics and twitches can trigger them more.

Are tics part of your life forever?

Tics come and go. They can disappear for no reason forever, come back after a month, or stay with you for years. You cannot follow defined rules to keep track of your tic situation.

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

The leading cause of Tourette’s is still unknown. However, the most common causes are either genetic or environmental factors.

It occurs due to a disorder in the brain stem, the portion of the brain that controls involuntary movements, emotion, and cognition.

According to experts, problems in the brain stem may result in an imbalance in the amounts of brain neurotransmitters, which transmit messages between cells. Tics may be caused by abnormal neurotransmitter levels.

Moreover, tics can also occur alongside other conditions, including:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

Tics vary in type, recurrence, location, and intensity over time. The early signs typically appear between the ages of 5 and 10 years, initially in the head and neck area and spreading to the backbone, arms, and legs muscles. Motor tics typically emerge before vocal tics, and basic tics frequently precede complicated tics.

Minor physical tics include:

  • Eye blinking
  • Eye darting
  • Grinding teeth
  • Neck twisting
  • Eye rolling
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Sticking your tongue out
  • Rotating shoulders
  • Nose twitching

Vocal tics include:

  • Squeaking
  • Yelling
  • Blowing
  • Clearing throat
  • Grunting
  • Hiccupping
  • Sniffing

Complex physical tics are:

  • Shaking
  • Smelling every object
  • Touching others unwantedly
  • Head shaking
  • Hitting things
  • Hopping or jumping
  • Flapping

For example, if blinking eyes cause a burning feeling in your eyes and is not alleviated by blinking more, this can be an advanced warning. Similarly, if your tics cause you any discomfort, consider that your child may have Tourette’s syndrome.

Tips to Manage

There is no cure for Tourette’s syndrome. However, it’s possible to manage the symptoms. Here are some of the ways to reduce tics:

  • Limit screen time
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid gluten and dairy
  • Limit sugar and artificial flavors
  • Use hemp oil (read a story of a mother who reduced 90% of her son’s tics with hemp)
  • Try therapy
  • Avoid stress-inducing situations

Is It Necessary to Consult a Doctor?

Tics don’t cause any severe damage to your brain, and you may not always need a professional if the condition is mild and not causing any problems. Sometimes tics disappear as quickly as they come.

However, if you’re concerned about your child’s tics or if the situation is very new to you, and you need some advice, doctors are always available to support and guide you towards the right path. You may need to consult if the tics:

  • Cause unfamiliar pain and discomfort
  • Interfere with daily activities
  • Are accompanied by anxiety, depression, or self-harm
  • Cause emotional or social problems
  • Make you feel embarrassed or cause social isolation
  • Occur often and are becoming severe

Professionals diagnose your situation, check your medical history, and if they see a problem, they may suggest some medicines or treatments to help overcome your condition.

The Bottom Line

Our professionals at Houston OCD Counseling provide certified treatments for Tourette’s syndrome. We offer tailored care to each patient and provide therapies to help you learn skills and techniques to reduce tics. These can include ERP or CBT treatments.

For more information, please get in touch with us by booking an appointment online.

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