Tourette Syndrome (TS)


This is a disorder of the brain and nervous system. With it, you have an overwhelming urge to make sounds or movements we call "tics." This can be embarrassing. It can cause problems at school and work.


We don't understand what causes Tourette syndrome. It's linked to problems with certain brain regions, and with the way nerve cells communicate. It's more common in men than in women.


The tics caused by this syndrome usually begin in childhood. There are many types. Some relate to movement. Eye blinking and facial grimacing are examples. So are head jerking and shoulder shrugging. You may feel the need to hop, bend, twist, or touch objects. Other tics are related to sounds you make and things you say. You may need to sniff, grunt or bark. You may need to say certain words or phrases. Some people say inappropriate or offensive things. And, you can have complex tics that combine many of these actions. Excitement and anxiety may make tics worse.

Are tics voluntary?

The urge you have to complete a tic can be overwhelming. You feel it coming on. You may resist it at first, but the urge gets more and more powerful. And when you perform the tic, you feel a sense of relief.


Treatment depends on your needs. Some people don't require treatment. Others benefit from medications. Therapy may help you learn to manage your tics. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that's right for you.