The true number of people with Tourette syndrome (TS) isn’t known, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 1 out of every 162 children may have the neurological condition, though only about half of them are diagnosed.
TS features repeated movements and sounds called tics that aren’t easy to control. These usually emerge in childhood, between the ages of 2 and 15. Boys are three or four times more likely to be affected than girls, but they all may see increased control or fewer tics occurring once they leave their teens.
It’s a good idea to involve your child’s pediatrician in working to manage TS symptoms. The doctors at Katy Pediatric Associates know that a child with TS is also more likely to have conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or anxiety issues, to name a few.
The symptoms of TS divide into simple and complex groups, as well as motor and vocal tics. Simple motor tics might include blinking or darting of the eyes, jerking of the head, and shoulder shrugging, while complex motor tics affect several muscle groups, creating more elaborate tics such as walking with a particular pattern, making gestures, or jumping.
Vocal tics can also be simple, including throat clearing, coughs, or grunts, or complex, when repeated words or phrases feature in a tic. Vulgar or obscene tics can both be vocal and motor, the latter in the form of gestures.
The tics are involuntary, and motor tics tend to emerge before vocal tics. They can be mild or severe, alone or in combination. Children with TS usually experience an uncomfortable sensation prior to the tic. The tic itself produces a feeling of relief from this premonitory urge.
Many TS patients require no treatment as long as the tics don’t interfere with their ability to function normally. Nothing can cure TS, so treatments are aimed at controlling the frequency and intensity of both motor and vocal tics.
Treatments divide into therapy and medication. Therapy treatments include:
Medications used to treat TS include:
There’s an effective treatment for your child’s TS, though it may take some effort to find it. Contact Katy Pediatric Associates to add an informed medical viewpoint to your TS management efforts. Make an appointment by calling the office at 281-492-7676 or using the online link when you first suspect your child may have TS tics.