Tourette Syndrome Symptoms

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Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition that is characterized by tics, which are repeated, involuntary, sudden movements or vocalizations. The severity of the tics can vary widely, and they range from barely noticeable to debilitating and disruptive.

Common types of tics involving movements include:

  • eye blinking
  • grimacing
  • shoulder shrugging
  • head jerking
  • touching the nose
  • In more serious cases, touching people or things, twirling around, jumping, and even self-injurious behaviors (such as hitting oneself) may be observed.

Tics involving vocalizations include:

  • repetitive throat clearing
  • tongue clicking
  • making strange or inappropriate noises such as yelping
  • repeating others' words or phrases (termed echolalia)
  • uttering swear words or racial slurs (called coprolalia, this phenomenon only occurs in about 15% of people with Tourette's Syndrome)

The symptoms of Tourette Syndrome usually begin in childhood and generally worsen during the teen years. The severity and frequency of tics and even the type of tics can vary over time in a given individual. While the tics are considered involuntary, some people perceive the tics as urges and can learn to suppress their symptoms to a certain extent and for limited periods of time. Many, but not all, people with Tourette Syndrome suffer from other neurological and/or behavioral conditions including: