Top 9 Things to Know About Tourette’s Syndrome

Everyone is more or less familiar with Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome without necessarily having been in contact with someone who declared it. But in detail this syndrome remains quite mysterious for a good part of the population and especially people are mistaken about its symptoms, that’s why today we decided to reveal some of the things to know about it, to you sleep less stupid tonight and understand a little more in detail its characteristics.

1. The name comes from the doctor who diagnosed and studied it

It was in 1885 that Doctor Georges Gilles de la Tourette published a long study on convulsive tics which is the fruit of long-term research. These tics which will be gathered a little later in a syndrome which will bear his name are multiple and their study will be continued over several years to document and treat them.

2. The syndrome begins in childhood

It is between the ages of 6 and 8 that the first signs of the syndrome appear in children. It mainly affects boys and occurs less often in girls (4 boys for 1 girl). In France there is one in two thousand people with Tourette’s syndrome, less than one percent of the population.

3. He has several motor and sound tics

Most of the time the motor tics arrive before the sound tics in the child. They are characterized by compulsive movements due to involuntary muscle contractions (myoclonus) and various sound tics. If no sound tic is declared before the age of 18, the person is not considered to have Tourette’s syndrome.

4. The syndrome is often accompanied by other behavioral disorders

In some children who have developed Tourette’s syndrome, we distinguish the arrival of other various behavioral disorders: hyperactivity, various attention disorders, anxiety / stress / rage attacks, sleep or learning problems , depression… These disorders can disappear at the same time as those which characterize Tourette’s syndrome.

5. Symptoms usually disappear in adulthood

In some cases Tourette’s syndrome disappears completely in adulthood, in others the symptoms may decrease in intensity and lessen in frequency. There are a minority of cases where they unfortunately get worse, people must then continue to have therapeutic follow-up and / or drug treatment.

6. It is not certain what causes the syndrome

Researchers have yet to find out for sure what causes this disease. On the one hand, it is thought that this could have a neurological cause such as a defect in the neurotransmitter “substance nigra” which plays a role in the inhibition of behavior, which may explain certain actions of people who suffer from the syndrome. Another genetic explanation shows that the genes involved could be passed from parents to child, which does not mean that he will develop the syndrome himself or in the same way, or even that the parent himself declared disease.

7. The uttering of insults and vulgar words concerns only 20% of cases

This is the best known feature of Tourette’s syndrome but it only concerns 20% of cases and is above all much less caricatural than shown in works of fiction. This symptom is called coprolalia (from the Greek for “excrement” and “to speak”) and it can affect people who do not have Tourette’s syndrome, such as certain extremely shy or agoraphobic people. It manifests as an involuntary and uncontrollable way of saying vulgar words or making rude gestures.

8. The treatment does not remove the disease but alleviates certain symptoms

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can make the disease disappear, in particular because it does not occur in the same way or at the same intensity depending on the person. However, many drugs can alleviate symptoms depending on the patient, such as clonidine.

9. Many famous people have had Tourette syndrome.

Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, Billie Eilish, Vincent Lindon, André Malraux or even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have (or had) declared Tourette syndrome to different degrees.

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