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Healthline Connects

Tourette Syndrome: It's Not all Swearing


Tourette Syndrome has become popularized in the media - characterized by people blurting out obscenities at inopportune moments. But the truth of Tourette Syndrome is that it is a complex and sometimes subtle neurological disorder. There is a genetic component to it and onset is before age 18 years. Tourette Syndrome is more common in males than females and involves involuntary body movements - called tics - as well as involuntary vocal outbursts.

  • Coprolalia is the involuntary utterance of obscenities
  • Palilalia, of the last word the person said, is also common
  • Touching, licking, facial grimaces, shoulder shrugging and blinking are all common motor tics
There is no cure for Tourette Syndrome, but it can be managed successfully and people with Tourette Syndrome lead normal, healthy lives. It often occurs with other disorders - autism, Asperger's syndrome, depression, OCD, conduct disorder. Public schools are obligated to help your child who is diagnosed with this syndrome. The incidence is on the rise - so if you have any concerns about seemingly odd behaviors - make sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Resources for more information:
Specialists who treat Tourette Syndrome are available all over the world. Medications used to control tics are widely available.

Thank you Vedia for use of photo of NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
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