Tourette’s syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by tics. These tics occur suddenly and regularly. These can be sounds or movements.

Gilles de la Tourette

Tourette’s syndrome involves compulsive repetition of various tics, or shouting (swearing) words.
A tic can be described as a sudden, rapid, recurring and non-rhythmic movement or sound.

In the Netherlands, it is estimated that approximately 16,000 people have Tourette’s syndrome. Previously, these people suffered so much from recurring tics that they visited a doctor. These people were subsequently diagnosed as having Tourette’s syndrome. There are also people who only have an occasional tic. They then have a mild form of Tourette’s. This is often not disturbing in their daily lives, and is therefore usually not noticeable. You have Tourette’s syndrome if the tics occur more than once every three months and then keep coming.

Different tics in Tourette’s

Tourette’s is associated with motor, cognitive and vocal tics. Vocal tics, the repetition of meaningless words, is also called coprolalia.

Motor tics

  • Nodding the head: This can be nodding yes or shaking no, but also extreme throwing of your head to one side, or from left to right.
  • Extreme blinking: With one eye or with both eyes, or taking turns.
  • Wrinkling of the nose or shoulders.
  • The fingers crack: This can also cause some people with Tourette’s fingers to suffer.
  • Keep turning your eyes away.
  • Making movements with your mouth/face: This also includes sticking out the tongue or puffing out your cheeks.
  • Clapping your hands or moving your arms up and down.

There are also people with Tourette’s who have compound tics. Several muscle groups are involved in this. Many muscles then contract, especially in the neck and arms. It is therefore very difficult for these people to have to deal with the tic every time.

Cognitive tics

  • Thinking of words with a certain starting letter: People with Tourette’s start thinking about this and then want to be able to name ten words with the letter L, for example.
  • Repeating words in silence: Words and sentences are repeated until they are good enough for that person.
  • Certain images are often seen in your mind, which can cause fear. It’s a kind of urge to see that image again and again.

Vocal tics

  • Imitate an animal.
  • Shouting meaningless words, this does not always have to be swearing.
  • Repeating your own words or sentences, or those of someone else.
  • Clicking your tongue.
  • Clearing the throat or frequent coughing.
  • Making hissing noises.

Tourette’s Treatment

Tourette’s syndrome cannot be cured. You have to learn to deal with it. This is of course often very difficult, because the tics keep repeating themselves and can sometimes get worse. You can try to suppress the tics yourself:

  • Make sure you get enough rest and sleep.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Do things you like to do. For example, making music, singing and exercising. The fact is that if people with Tourette’s find relaxation with something they enjoy doing, the tics will decrease a lot or stay away for a while.
  • Do relaxation exercises and breathing exercises.

People who really struggle with Tourette’s can seek help. Behavioral therapy is the most suitable therapy. In this way, an attempt is made to control the tics, so that the patient can stop the tic for a long time. With this therapy you also learn to block the tics, so that you are less bothered by the tics.

Similar Posts