Tourette Syndrome - Description
Motor tics usually occur in bouts that take place several times a day. The tics may make it difficult for a patient to perform simple everyday tasks such as tying one's shoelaces. More complex tasks, such as driving a car, are even more difficult.
Vocal tics can be the source of serious social problems. Some TS patients feel an irresistible urge to shout swear words or offensive racial terms. The patient finds it nearly impossible to control these urges. Some people find it hard to be in the company of a TS patient for this reason. Family members and friends often learn to adjust to these vocal tics. But TS patients usually live in fear of shocking other people or embarrassing themselves. They may withdraw from contact with other people.
- The process of providing a person with information on some body function, such as blood pressure, so that it can be controlled to some extent.
- A very strong urge to do or say something that usually cannot be resisted for long.
- Difficulty in reading, spelling, and/or writing words.
- Genetic disorder:
- A medical problem caused by one or more defective genes. Genes are passed from one generation to another.
- A muscular contraction or vocal sound over which a patient has very little control.
The tics of TS are often said to be involuntary. That explanation means that a person has no control over the tic. But that description is not exactly correct. The patient is often able to control a tic for several hours at a time. But that control does not last forever. Eventually the tic is allowed to come out. When it does, it is stronger and longer lasting than usual. Tics often become worse when a patient is under stress but are usually less of a problem during sleep.
Some TS symptoms are similar to those of some mental disorders. For example, patients may seem grouchy and depressed. They may tend to think the same thoughts over and over again. This behavior is a kind of mental tic known as obsession. The exact relationship between TS and mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (see obsessive-compulsive disorder entry) is still not well understood.