Lifeline Connections

Understanding Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome

Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome are characterized by involuntary and uncontrollable movements or speech patterns or repetitive behaviors. Historically, tic disorders have been misunderstood and stigmatized because of the uncontrollable nature of the tics. Since they can occur at inopportune moments it can make being out in public difficult.

Symptoms of Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome

Some of the uncontrollable motor movements can include blinking, twitching of the face and other types of shoulder and arm jerking. There can also be vocal tics like coughing, swearing, repeating words, barking or shouting. Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome usually have an early childhood onset with varying severity. Some people have symptoms that improve over time, while others might need help through treatments to manage their symptoms.

It was suggested that before Tourette’s Syndrome was identified as a developmental disorder, people used to think that people with Tourette’s were possessed. This is just one example of stigma associated with mental health disorders. Research and awareness has helped those with Tics find acceptance and treatment to help manage their symptoms.

Treatment Options for Patients

There are a variety of possible treatments for people with this syndrome. In some cases it is associated with the dysfunction of the basal ganglia, which is involved with voluntary movement in the brain. Medications that are used to treat other disorders have been found to help manage Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome; Haloperidol (often used to help control Schizophrenia), Clonidine (a blood pressure drug), and Prozac (as well as other antidepressants). Talk therapy can help people cope with the negative social repercussions of Tourette’s and Tic Syndrome and find ways to explain their disorder to others. There are also some behavioral therapies that focus on reducing the incidences.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, like depression or anxiety, please contact the professional team at Lifeline Connections. You can visit Lifelineconnections.org or call 360.397.8246 for more information.

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