Tourette Syndrome Essay

1985 words - 8 pages

“Imagine having poison ivy all over you body, for twenty years and constantly being told not to scratch. You can resist for a while, but eventually you give in” (Marlene Targ Brill 18). Tourette syndrome can be compared to poison ivy in some aspects. Individuals with Tourette syndrome have been suffering with tics and tantrums for hundreds of years, but today there are treatments that can help control the symptoms of Tourettes, allowing sufferers to live a normal life.
The history of Tourette syndrome is very interesting. Hundreds of years ago those with Tourettes were thought of very differently all around the world. In some countries they were worshiped and in some countries they were considered possessed. Also, in other countries they were considered mysterious and unusual.
“In South Africa there are several diseases regarded as sacred—the diseases of the god’s… Tourettes is one of the sacred diseases in Zulu culture where people are so afflicted have been made great leaders socially and spiritually. They have named the disease “Indiki”; the word meaning ‘pulse’ or ‘jerk illness’” (Health Record Center Academic Print).
There were many other cultures where people with Tourette syndrome were considered enchanted or worshiped.
On the other hand, not all Touretters were honored and worshiped like others. Some people with Tourette syndrome were thought of as possessed and were tortured because of their tics and tantrums. “Sometimes they underwent extreme “treatments” such as flogging, lobotomies, or even being burned at stake” (Tracy Haerle 20). The pain of these individuals with Tourette syndrome is unimaginable to understand since no one realized they could not control their actions. “The bizarre behavior and verbal outbursts of several young women confounded the Puritan community of Salem, leading to the witch trials of 1692” (Marlene Targ Brill). Those with Tourette syndrome paid the price for having Tourette’s.
Hundreds of years ago, people with Tourette syndrome were thought to be mysterious though, the outlook has not changed. To this day, there is not a complete understanding to why or how those with Tourette syndrome act the way they do. Nor is there an exact reason why they have Tourette’s. Doctors and scientists are still researching to put the puzzle together about this disease. There may always be something a little mysterious about Tourettes.
Scientists have yet to get to the bottom of Tourette syndrome. Tourette is still a mystery in the eyes of many people. Researchers have discovered that Tourette syndrome is hereditary. They believe that it is caused by mismatched chromosomes. “Researchers believe that tics are caused by and excess, or oversensitivity to, the brain chemical dopamine. (Dopamine is a chemical which ordinarily helps transmit signals involving control of motor movements from one nerve cell to the next” (Tracy Haerle 6) Scientists were clueless as to why individuals with...

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