How Does a Person Get Tourette Syndrome? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to control their movements and speech. The exact cause of Tourette’s is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for Tourette syndrome.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that typically starts in childhood and is characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements, and vocalizations called tics. Tics can be simple or complex and can involve movements, sounds, or both. Simple tics are sudden, brief, and repetitive movements or sounds, while complex tics are more prolonged and involve coordinated movements and sounds.

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

The exact cause of Tourette’s is unknown, but research suggests that it may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some studies have found that people with Tourette’s have changes in certain genes that control the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that transmit signals between nerve cells.

Causes of Tourette Syndrome

Environmental factors may also play a role in the development of Tourette’s. For example, some studies have found that exposure to certain toxins during pregnancy or early childhood may increase the risk of developing Tourette’s.

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

Tourette’s is characterized by the presence of tics, which can vary in frequency and severity. Tics can be simple or complex and can involve movements, sounds, or both. Some common tics associated with Tourette’s include:

  • Eye blinking
  • Facial grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Sniffing
  • Throat clearing
  • Coughing
  • Grunting
  • Barking
  • Shouting
  • Swearing

Tics associated with Tourette’s typically start in childhood, around the age of six or seven, and may improve or worsen over time.

Diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome

There is no specific test for Tourette’s, and diagnosis is based on the presence of tics that have persisted for at least one year. A doctor may also conduct a physical exam and order tests to rule out other medical conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Treatment of Tourette Syndrome

There is currently no cure for Tourette’s, but treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options for Tourette’s include:

  1. Medications: Medications that can help reduce tics include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and alpha-adrenergic agonists.
  2. Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapies such as habit reversal therapy can help individuals with Tourette’s learn to control their tics.
  3. Deep Brain Stimulation: Deep brain stimulation involves the surgical implantation of electrodes in the brain that deliver electrical impulses to targeted areas.


  1. Is Tourette’s hereditary?
    Yes, Tourette’s is believed to have a genetic component, and it often runs in families.
  2. Can Tourette’s be cured?
    There is no cure for Tourette’s, but treatment can help manage symptoms.
  3. Can stress make Tourette’s worse?
    Stress can worsen tics associated with Tourette’s.
  4. Can Tourette’s be diagnosed in adults?
    Yes, Tourette’s can be diagnosed in adults, although it typically starts in childhood.
  5. Is Tourette’s a form of mental illness?
    Tourette’s is a neurodevelopmental disorder, not a mental illness.

Read Also –

Early Signs of Tourette’s Syndrome in Children

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