Tourette Syndrome is also commonly known as TS.
TS is described as neurochemical because it is believed to be caused by an abnormal regulation of at least one brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Very likely other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are also involved.
Tics are considered involuntary even though, in some cases, they can be delayed or even prevented entirely with effort. Some tics, however, are performed without the person being aware of the tic and in other cases, even though the person is aware of the urge to perform the tic, it cannot be delayed or prevented. Delaying or “holding in” tics may result in a greater expression of the tics at a later time.
People with TS share the common symptom of tics, however, no two people will share the exact same tics. Symptoms of TS and associated disorders and behaviours will look different from person to person.
Symptoms will vary from mild to severe and may disappear completely at times.
Part of a Family of Disorders:
Tourette Syndrome disorder is part of a larger spectrum of disorders known as Movements Disorders.
There is no evidence that Tourette Syndrome is linked to other than Tic Disorders.
Tic Disorders include subtypes:
Tourette Syndrome, and
The majority of diagnoses of Tourette Syndrome will be made based on the history (past behaviours) of the patient as reported by either the patient or in the case of children, by the parents of the child. Observations of the patient during the visit will also be used in the diagnosis.
Separating Tourette Syndrome from other Tic Disorders is a matter of looking at the current diagnostic criteria of Tourette Syndrome as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM.)
Tourette Syndrome may be present in a person as a lone condition which may be described as “TS-Only” or “Pure TS” but is more often accompanied by another diagnosable medical condition that is often referred to as being a co-morbid condition or an associated disorder.
It is important to understand the conditions and the differences between the conditions and which condition a given symptom or behaviour belongs to. Treatment, whether psychological or medical, is specific to the condition.
TS is believed to be genetically transmitted.