7 Symptoms of Tourettes

Tourettes is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have tics—involuntary movements, thoughts, or words. It was first recognized by French physician Jean Marc Gaspard Itard in 1825, but it was not until 1885 that French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot coined the term “Tourettes syndrome” after his resident assistant Georges Gilles de la Tourette published a study of nine persons with convulsive disorders.

To be diagnosed with Tourettes a person must suffer from at least two movement disorders and a verbal one for over a year. The type a movements a person may suffer varies widely, from eye blinking to leg kicking. A person normally develops Tourettes sometime during childhood Medication is rarely prescribed for the control of Tourettes. Most treatments focus on education and management of the most disrupting aspects of the syndrome. As a person with Tourettes reaches adulthood, the disorder may lessen. The average age when the condition is most severe is between eight and twelve years of age. While there is no test for Tourette’s syndrome, medical professionals have devised standards that assist physicians in diagnosis of the disorder. The following are the symptoms of Tourettes:

1. Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive behavior is one of the leading signs of Tourettes. While not everyone with Tourettes suffers from compulsive behavior, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over a third of these patients do experience compulsive behaviors. These compulsive behaviors may range from repeated hand-washing, checking and rechecking things, repeating words silently, counting, or even praying over and over again. Many people afflicted with Tourettes also suffer from obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Paul J. Lombroso and Lawrence Scahill published a study in 2007 that linked the two. “… Over half [of Tourette patients] also have significant obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and approximately 30% meet the diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder,” they reported. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when a person struggles with unwanted thoughts or obsessions that lead him/her to feel compelled to respond to these thoughts. The person is compelled due to a sense of fear or stress if he refuses. When he acts on the compulsion, there is a temporary easing of the distress.