Some psychiatric disorders are characteristic of childhood and can be noticed from the first years of life. Some are perceptible because they reflect on some external signal, while others are more restrained and difficult to capture, often going unnoticed. Tourette’s syndrome is one of those disorders that affect children and adolescents up to 18 years of age .
The term “nervous tic” is more common, we have heard of it and most probably at some point we have already named some repetitive movement as tic. But there is a difference between tics, OCD and Tourette’s Syndrome mania, which includes some manifestations that include multiple, motor and vocal tics.
Discovery of the Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome, scientifically named la Tourette’s syndrome, was first described by the French physician Jean Itard in 1825, but only years later, in 1885, Gilles de la Tourette who found more than 5 cases of patients diagnosed with this disease. syndrome , which later, as a tribute, was named after him.
Unfortunately, patients with Tourette or other syndromes, depending on the degree of the disease, suffer prejudice which naturally impairs their social life , so it is extremely important to seek a specialist to start treatment as soon as possible, as it only causes syndromes such as Tourette having no cure, it is possible to treat and control involuntary movements.
See below for more detailed information on the characteristics, symptoms and treatment of this syndrome, which affects about 0.4 to 3.8% of children between 5 and 18 years of age.
Characteristics of Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder that manifests itself in childhood, presenting multiple tics, motor and vocal, which usually persist for more than a year.
In most cases, the symptoms subside a lot in adulthood , only chronic cases, which are the minority, can be more difficult to control even over the years.
With the information of the disease more disseminated by the specialists, naturally the cases diagnosed with Tourette have grown in the last decade as well as several treatments are being pointed out with a very satisfactory success rate, with great possibilities of rehabilitation .
Tourette patients present motor tics in addition to vocal tics , manifested in different ways. All movements are performed involuntarily and with a certain frequency and are really uncontrollable.
So if you notice any tics or symptoms that cause a psychomotor disorder, seek medical attention immediately for an accurate diagnosis and indication of more effective treatments.
Tourette’s syndrome patients initially present, in most cases, with motor tics such as blinking, contracting the facial muscles , shaking the head, abruptly contracting the abdominal muscles or muscles in other regions and even more complex movements, such as touching or hitting objects that are close by, added with vocal tics such as coughing, sniffling and the total or partial emission of some words.
They also usually present other symptoms besides tics, such as compulsions, obsessions, attention deficit, impulsivity, learning difficulties , verbal disfluency (stuttering), lability of mood, irritability, self-mutilation, anxiety, depression, autism, difficulty in relationships with peers. aggressive behavior and altered sleep profile.
In rarer cases, patients with Tourette’s Syndrome involuntarily utter obscene words (coprolalia) and obscene gestures (copropraxia), as well as insulting expressions, repetition of words or phrases spoken by someone else (echolalia). In these extreme cases, social life is more affected and requires greater care.
Diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome
The diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome is made only by clinical analysis. Some factors are evaluated to confirm the disease and, for this, parents will be asked about the child’s behavior in daily life, contributing with relevant and essential information for an assertive positioning.
See what are the most relevant issues and if you notice any of these symptoms in your child’s behavior, be sure to consult a specialist.
- It is assessed whether there is a presence during multiple motor tics syndrome in addition to one or more vocal tics, even if they are not simultaneous.
- The frequency of the manifestation of the tics is checked. If it occurs almost daily or intermittently, for a period longer than one year;
- It is necessary to understand whether the tic varies the anatomical location over time.
- The number, frequency, complexity, type and severity of the tics are also evaluated.
- When the beginning of some type of motor or vocal tic was noticed
- And finally, check if there is any other disease or motivation that causes involuntary movements or vocalizations.
Treatment of Tourette’s Syndrome
There is still no cure for this syndrome, but with the available treatments it is possible to keep the seizures under control . In addition to specific medications that reduce the intensity of tics, research indicates that cognitive behavioral therapy, also called habits reversal treatment, has been extremely important for obtaining satisfactory results.
The therapeutic treatment is based on the training of patients to monitor their premonitory sensations tics, in order to respond with another physical movement, but voluntary, incompatible with the tic.
Adequate treatment will be related to the degree of symptom intensity , the impact on the self-esteem and social acceptance of the patient with the syndrome, and even when the patient is a child, even more caution is needed in the evaluation.
Checking the interference that tics are exerting on the child’s normal development and valuing the natural execution of daily tasks in the best possible way are the priorities of medical treatment. Getting some kind of treatment will be a decision made by the parents together with the doctor.
Many children with Tourette’s syndrome do not even undergo treatments, because their symptoms are mild and do not cause any damage to their daily routine and especially for their development. In these cases, the doctor can only accompany the patient for a long time, monitoring the evolution of the disease until he understands that some treatment is necessary.
The parents of children with Tourette syndrome has important role for improvement. Talking a lot with children, being patient and above all never criticizing their deficiencies but rather stimulating their self-esteem and security makes all the difference and helps them a lot to face prejudice and overcome any barriers!
See also: What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.