Tourette Syndrome Essay

3903 words - 16 pages

Tourette Syndrome
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Tourette Syndrome was named for George Gilles de la Tourette, who first discovered the syndrome in 1885. Today there is still a mystery surrounding the disorder, it?s causes and it?s cures. But one of the biggest mysteries is an associated behavior called coprolalia. This symptom is the uncontrolled swearing or socially unacceptable utterances that some with Tourettes experience. Although despite the media?s fascination, Tourette syndrome is not the cursing disease many believe it to be.

This baffling neurological disorder is characterized by repetitive motor and/or vocal tics. The identifying symptom of TS seems to be tic disorders. ?A tic is a brief, repetitive, purposeless, non-rhythmic un-voluntary movement or sound.?(Packer 1) Tics can be many things, movements, or sounds. They can be simple or complex, eye blinking, frowning, grunting or even coughing. Most believe Tourette syndrome to be rare, in fact that is not the case. It is actually one of the most common and under diagnosed and very misunderstood disorders. (Packer 1) The National Tourette Syndrome Association published estimates that suggested that Tourette Syndrome affected only 1 in every 10,000 people but now we have evidence suggesting that 2 to 3 out of every 100 children or teenagers may have some form of the disorder (Packer 2).

Like many conditions Tourettes is a spectrum disorder (TSN 1). That means that there is a broad variety of different symptoms and it varies from mild to severe. Not all patients of TS experience the same kinds of tic disorders.

One tic in particular is ?coprolalia?. It is not required for diagnosis, but if the child or adult has it is likely to cause social embarrassment or problems (Packer 4). The term Coprolalia actually means the uncontrollable use of obscene language. There are also utterances of insults and racial comments (Bruun 41). This seems the most commonly recognized tic disorder of Tourettes. When most think of Tourette they automatically assume the random cussing. Actually this seems to be a rare symptom. ?Coprolalia, the symptom that the general public associates most often with TS, and it is not common?(Bruun 41).

It only occurs it a small minority of TS individuals. The numbers are an estimated 5-30% as reported by the Tourette Syndrome Association in 1993. Some relate the coming on of an inappropriate word as hard to control as a sneeze. They can feel it coming on but are unable to control it even with medication (Michigan 1). One of the characteristics of coprolalia that sets it apart from just simply swearing is that words come out compulsively. Most often when a person is angry but even if they are just under stress (Kozlowski 1).

Causes of TS are still being debated and most leads are pointing to genetic factors. The understanding of it seems to be incomplete and unfinished. But in 1999 researchers announced that they had found evidence...

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