Tourette’s syndrome is a congenital genetic disorder of the nervous system that manifests itself in systematic motor and vocal (sound) tics that cannot be controlled. Vocal tics are the pronunciation of simple sounds (clattering of the tongue, coughing). They can be accompanied by motor tics that involve different muscle groups. The first symptoms appear in childhood by the age of 4-5 years. The disease is more commonly diagnosed in boys.
Tourette’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that is most often passed from fathers to sons, much less often in women. At the same time, women whose fathers suffered from this ailment are highly prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In a tenth of cases, Tourette’s syndrome is also accompanied by coprolalia – this is a painful craving for obscene language, a desire to use swear words when it is inappropriate. Coprolalia is not a symptom of this syndrome exclusively, because such a problem occurs in schizophrenia and in some manic states.
This is not to say that the disease itself is very rare – it occurs from 1 to 10 times in 2000 people, most often the diagnosis is made in childhood.
Factors provoking Tourette’s syndrome
Although the disease is genetic, some factors are more active in provoking it. Therefore, we highlight the following causes of Tourette’s syndrome:
- serious infections;
- poisoning with toxins;
- mental trauma;
- severe and repetitive stress;
- the use of psychotropic substances (including the misuse of prescribed drugs).
How does Tourette’s syndrome manifest itself?
Symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome include:
- Various involuntary tics. Twitching is observed on the neck, face, in the shoulder area;
- Chaotic and frequent movements of the tongue, lips. Moreover, this can be accompanied by shouting out different words, sounds;
- Repetition of individual movements several times, repetition of syllables, words, or sounds.
The list shows that the manifestations of the disease are motor (associated with movements) and vocal (associated with sounds). Everything related to movement most often manifests itself from 2 to 8 years old, and vocal “bursts” are typical for younger children.
Any tics with this disease are not controlled. These signs of Tourette’s syndrome exist as if by themselves – the patient is unable to cope with them. At the same time, in a stressful situation, such reactions become aggravated, become more pronounced, vivid, and frequent. In conditions of complete rest and relaxation, tics are much less disturbing.
Stages of Tourette syndrome
The syndrome has four stages. They are determined depending on how often tics occur. If not more often than once a minute – we are talking about the first stage. Moreover, the patient often feels that the problem is approaching, and can somehow disguise it. In the second stage, there are 2 to 4 ticks per minute. This gives strong stress to the psyche, it is overexcited.
Further, the process continues on an increasing basis: at the third stage, 5 or more ticks per minute are observed, and the fourth is characterized by very frequent ticks. In the latter case, serious mental disorders are not uncommon, since the central nervous system is under constant stress.
How is Tourette’s Syndrome Treated?
All methods that are used in the treatment of such diseases can be divided into medication and non-medication. The first involves taking sedatives, rarely tranquilizers. If they are prescribed, then in short courses and only after the doctor finds out that it is really necessary.
Non-drug treatments for Tourette’s syndrome:
- Relaxing massage – manual and hardware;
- The option is chosen depending on the situation. This therapy is carried out with the help of hands, special needles, and electrical impulses. The point is to act on certain points of the body that will help to relax, stabilize the nervous system;
- aromatherapy. It is aimed at rest, tranquility, and relaxation. After consultation with a doctor, aromatherapy is also available at home – it is a simple and often effective method;
- medical sleep (electrosleep). Thanks to current impulses through special devices, such a dream normalizes the work of the brain and central nervous system. It usually lasts from 30 minutes to 2 hours;
- psychotherapy. It helps a person get rid of anxiety, difficult conditions, psychological trauma, and also teaches them to accept their condition.
An important point in the treatment of Tourette’s syndrome is the right atmosphere at home, among close friends. A person with such a deviation should receive support, care, be protected from ridicule and inappropriate reactions to tics.
With such an ailment, you can use folk remedies that are aimed at stabilizing the condition, maintaining calm. These are teas and tinctures made from herbs such as mint, chamomile, and lemon balm. You can use any soothing herbs if you are not allergic to the components. However, you should not expect their healing properties – this is just easy support of the condition in addition to the main treatment (be sure to consult with your doctor).
Causes of Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a psychiatric disorder, not a neurological disorder, which is often thought to be. At the moment, science does not know which part of the brain or nervous system is responsible for the development of this disorder. Modern researchers have no way of pointing out a specific physiological factor that is impaired in Tourette’s syndrome. This disorder could be called neurological only if there is an obvious and proven physiological cause.
In Tourette’s syndrome, hereditary continuity can often be seen. Very often in a child with this disorder, one of the closest relatives suffers from similar problems – Tourette’s syndrome or tics. Although the disease is genetic, there are a number of factors that trigger the development of symptoms. If you have similar symptoms, then you need to contact an experienced neurologist to tell and prescribe everything to you.