Tourette's Syndrome is characterized by multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. A tic is a sudden, rapid movement of some of the muscles in the body that occurs over and over and doesn't serve any purpose. The location, frequency, and complexity of tics changes over time. Motor tics frequently involve the head, central body, legs, and arms. They may result in simple movements such as eye blinking, or more complex movements such as touching and squatting. Vocal tics can include sounds such as grunts, barks, sniffs, snorts, coughs, and obscenities.
Tourette's Syndrome is always diagnosed before the age of eighteen - most commonly appearing around seven years of age. It occurs more often in males than females and symptoms are usually present for life. The severity of Tourette's varies a great deal over time, but improvement can occur during late adolescence and in adulthood. Teens with Tourette's Syndrome often have additional problems with obsessions, compulsions, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness.
|Tics and Tourette's Disorder
Barbara Coffey, M.D.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
NYU Child Study Center
Director, Institute for Tourette and Tic Disorders
New York University School of Medicine