Taking a Closer Look at Tourette's Syndrome Essay

Taking a Closer Look at Tourette's Syndrome Essay

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Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited tic disorder that usually appears in early childhood and is classified by multiple motor tics and verbal tics. (Mayo 2012) Tics are sudden and repetitive movements, with motor tics being physical muscle movements, and verbal tics being sudden vocalization. Common tics range anywhere from constant eye blinking to throat clearing and grunting. Although the word “involuntary” is usually used to describe tics, this is not completely true, a better word would be “compelling.” It wouldn’t be true to say that people with Tourette’s can’t control their tics, some people can hold the tics back for hours at a time, but this only leads to a bigger outburst when they are finally let go. Tics are comparable to scratching a mosquito bite, you are not forced to scratch it, but you feel the need to. Tics urge you to perform an action, but do not actually make you perform that action. Though tics generally occur all the time, they are more noticeable in times of stress. (NIH 2012)

There is not a specific test that can diagnose Tourette’s, and doctors must rely on the history of symptoms to diagnose it. The criteria to diagnose TS include things such as: having both motor and vocal tics, it occurs before age 18, the tics aren’t caused by medications or another medical condition, and that the tics occur several times a day, every day, for over a year.

Though the exact causes of Tourette’s are unknown, we know that it has to do with abnormalities in the development of the brain and nervous system, namely the frontal lobes. Evidence suggests that it is caused by an imbalance in the brain chemicals like dopamine, which controls movements and impulses. (Steer 2010) Even the slightest imbalance in the brain’s chem...


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...these include antidepressants, stimulants, and blood pressure medication. Antidepressants help control anxiety and sadness, which are triggers of tics. For antidepressants, I have taken Abilify, Fluoxetine, and Prozac. For me, these are the medications that really helped me control my tics by targeting the main triggers of my tics. With Tourette’s, I have always had tics, but the times that they are the most noticeable are when I am stressed or anxious about something. Stimulant medications are used to help increase attention and concentration. When you are concentrated on something, your tics are naturally suppressed, and these medications help you concentrate on something besides your tics. Central adrenergic inhibitors, such as Clonidine, are usually prescribed for high blood pressure, help control physical symptoms, and help suppress the impulse to perform a tic.

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