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Tourette's Syndrome Essay

3021 words - 12 pages

Tourette's Syndrome
Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is a sporadic or inherited
complex neuropsychiatric disorder (not an illness) influenced by
neurological, psychological, and sociological factors. It is
characterized by involuntary tics - sudden, rapid, recurrent
nonrhythmic movements or noises that occur repeatedly in the same way
(Temple, 2003). The symptoms include: both multiple motor tics and one
or more phonic tics (which may or may not include vocalizations and
which sometimes include outbursts of swearing) present at some time
during the disorder although not necessarily simultaneously; tics
occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or
intermittently throughout a span of more than one year. Periodic
changes are expected in the number, frequency, type and location of
the tics; waxing and waning of their severity is also common. Symptoms
can sometimes disappear for weeks or months at a time. TS affects
about 1 in every 2000 people (Robertson, 1989).
TS syndrome is not considered a mystery anymore, among the circles of
neuroscience and clinical psychology, as it has been in the past. On
the other hand, there are still some controversial issues regarding
this disorder. These are the ways in which Tourette’s should be
treated (what medications should be prescribed to people with TS) and
the matter whether Tourette’s should be actually considered a Higher
Executive Function deficit or not. There is also the issue of the
inheritability of the disorder. There is evidence of TS comorbidity
with disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a fact which actually suggest
inheritability of the disorder, since these disorders are also
considered (by most scientists) inheritable. However, as Nass and
Bressman (2002) state, the relationships between both ADHD and TS and
OCD and TS are complex and not yet clear. In addition to this, until
now linkage analysis has pointed to a number of chromosomal locations,
but has failed to identify a clear candidate gene(s).

Treating TS

Treating TS has been a controversial issue among scientist for years.
The kind of medication that should be prescribed to people with TS is
currently under debate mainly because TS is frequently accompanied
along with other disorders such as OCD or ADHD. Due to that there is
no one medication that is absolutely beneficial for all persons with
TS. Moreover, none of the available medications for TS completely
eliminates symptoms and in addition, all medications have side
effects. Instead, the available TS medications are only able to help
reduce specific symptoms.
Some patients who require medication to reduce the frequency and
intensity of the tic symptoms may be treated with neuroleptic drugs

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