Tourette Syndrome Symptoms
Typically, symptoms of Tourette syndrome include repetitive involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Tics are classified as either simple or complex, and may include behavioral problems, such as blinking, sniffing, and grunting. Given the range of potential symptoms, people with this condition are best served by receiving medical care that provides a comprehensive treatment plan.
Tourette syndrome is a nervous system condition characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Early Tourette syndrome symptoms are almost always noticed first in childhood, with the average onset occurring between the ages of 7 and 10 years. Other symptoms may include behavioral problems.
Tics are perhaps the most typical symptoms of Tourette syndrome. Some of the more common tics a person with Tourette syndrome experiences include:
- Eye blinking and other vision irregularities
- Repetitive throat-clearing
- Grunting sounds
- Facial grimacing
- Shoulder shrugging
- Head or shoulder jerking.
These tics are classified as either simple or complex tics. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that involve a limited number of muscle groups. Complex tics are distinct, coordinated patterns of movements involving several muscle groups.
Perhaps the most dramatic and disabling tics are those that result in self-harm, such as punching oneself in the face, or vocal tics, including coprolalia (uttering swear words) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others).
Some tics are preceded by an urge or sensation in the affected muscle group, commonly called a premonitory urge. Some with Tourette syndrome symptoms will describe a need to complete a tic in a certain way or a certain number of times in order to relieve the urge or decrease the sensation.
Tics are often worse with excitement or anxiety and better during calm, focused activities. Certain physical experiences can trigger or worsen tics. For example, tight collars may trigger neck tics; hearing another person sniff or clear his or her throat may trigger similar sounds. Tics do not go away during sleep, but are often significantly diminished.