Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

tourettes syndrome symptoms

This condition has been recognized for over 150 years. Tourette’s syndrome affects 3–5 per 10,000 children. Prevalence is ten times greater in children than it is in adults and occurs four times more commonly in males than in females.

Clinical characteristics

The mean age of onset of symptoms is 7 years and the essential features of the illness are the existence of multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. The most common symptoms involve eye-blinking, and tics affecting the face, neck or head. The onset of vocalization usually occurs later than the motor tics. Coprolalia, the inappropriate and involuntary uttering of obscenities, is seen in about a third of patients seen at the clinic. The manifestation of the tics varies in response to different conditions. Anxiety, stress and fatigue can aggravate tics. Concentration on controlling the symptoms can lead to temporary disappearance of symptoms. Children with Tourette’s syndrome are disproportionately likely to be obsessional. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder occurs in roughly 25–50 per cent. An association with exhibitionism, anti-social behaviour, aggression and self-infurious behaviour has been suggested.

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