“Tourette syndrome”, ever heard this term before? Probably not!
Well, did you know? “one in every 100 children suffers from Tourette syndrome.”
Still, there is little awareness of this disorder, which is a massive difficulty that hinders the lives of its patients.
Therefore, this lack of awareness also delays the diagnosis of this disease, which is absolutely unacceptable! The TAA recently did a study that informs that a child is diagnosed with this disorder, five years later than first started.
Even though Tourette disorder is as common as epilepsy and half as common as autism. (Since every 1 in 56 children has autism.) Still, their understanding is a lot more than the tic disorder’s is.
Fun fact: the first compiler of the English Dictionary, Dr. Samuel also had TS.
What most people know of Tourette disorder is only coprolalia, which occurs in only 20% of patients with GTS. Coprolalia is only one symptom of GTS, in which a person uses profanity profusely unintentionally.
What Is Tourette Syndrome?
More commonly known as the tic disorder, Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder in which a person unintentionally and uncontrollably makes weird, repetitive movements and eerie sounds. For instance, involuntary shoulder shrugs or reiterated eye blinking, or even saying offensive words.
Nonetheless, the symptoms first start appearing at around the age of 5-11 years. Boys being 3 times more likely than girls to get this condition. On average the tics are worst at the age of 9. And sudden life changes, like shifting homes or switching schools, or just being tired caused 70% of the children’s tics to get even worse.
Hence, the tics interfere in daily life works. Making simple communication and social interaction difficult and complex.
The tics either physical (creating movement) or vocal (creating sound), are classified into two types on the basis of muscle movements involved.
- Simple Tics that involve some muscle movements.
- Complex Tics that involve several muscle movements.
Furthermore, it is noticed that physical tics begin earlier than vocal ones.
Causes Of Tourette Syndrome
The cause is yet unknown. But scientists continue their research to find out what initiates this disorder. Recent studies find abnormality in certain brain regions to be the reason. However, it is also an inherited disease. GTS is caused by a combination of inherited and environmental factors.
Having a family history of tic disorder increases your risk of getting Tourette syndrome.
How lack of awareness causes more trouble
People with TS often have to face a lot of challenges in their lives. From studying in schools to trying to get a job, their physical and phonic tics deter them to reach their goals.
However, more awareness can create empathy and a sense of cooperation and understanding among the people for TS sufferers.
Likewise, their tics disturb their communication skills and social interaction. But, that does not mean in any way that they can’t lead a normal life. They equally have the right to choose their career and study with normal children.
The problems that challenge people with Tourette syndrome are:
Bullying at school
Since most people are unaware of this condition. Teachers too, along with the students don’t understand the tics and often get angry and bully the TS child. This makes the child mean and stressed. People enjoy making fun of their odd tics.
Also, even after a diagnosis of Tourette disorder, the school administration doesn’t allow the child to study in the school. Because their tics cause a disturbance in the studies.
These types of hostile behaviors cause the tics disorder to increase. As stress and anger make the tics even worse.
People are prone to perfection. And even the smallest of flaws make humans “aliens” and unacceptable.
Most employers would not prefer to appoint a person with TS. If you ask them, they’ll have a long list of reasons how the person’s tics will disturb their work.
But, let me tell you, they have lived a life with tics. They know how to live with the tics. Give them a chance and you’ll see how they conquer and succeed.
Imagine, you go out and uncontrollably create weird sounds from your mouth. Everyone around you will turn their heads to look at you. Right? It’s a natural and a reflexive reaction.
However, an uncomfortable one too!
We never realize how our stares make a person uncomfortable and embarrassed.
Due to this reaction, people with TS turn to be anti-social and avoid any type of public presence.
People with tic disorder are unable to make relationships and friendships. Due to their complex and under-confident behavior, they are scared and shy to approach any new stranger. They are also unsure of the unpredictable reactions of the next person once they hear their tics.
They become quiet introverts and depressed anti-socials. Having no self-confidence and zero self-esteem.
Cure And Treatments
Yet, there are no cures and no treatments that completely eliminate the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. And, the medications that are suggested, have more harmful side effects than good ones. Neuroleptics may cause weight gain, sedation, and cognitive decline.
Other Neurobehavioral Disorders That Come With Tourette Disorder
Nonetheless, patients with Tourette syndrome are often found to suffering from one or more other disorders too. These psychological problems often cause more trouble and harm than the tic disorder itself.
These disorders are
- Anxiety problems.
- Stress and Depression.
- Developmental delays.
- Autism spectrum disorder.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
- Learning disabilities or difficulties.
- Speech or communication problems.
- Intellectual disabilities.
- Conduct Disorder (CD).
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
- Anger Management issues.
- Pain in
What Should We Do?
Our role in this regard should be to create more awareness and more empathy towards people with Tourette syndrome.
Hence, we should not stare at them and not exclude them.
Also, try and make them feel more comfortable and be friendly with them. Ignore their tics and eerie movements and help them live a normal life.
So next time you see a person making weird movements and sounds, do not stare and do not sympathize. Therefore,
LIVE AND LET LIVE.