General Practice 2022

SíTourette's syndrome: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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SíTourette's syndrome: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
SíTourette's syndrome: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disease that causes a person to perform impulsive, frequent and repeated acts, also known as tics, which can make socialization difficult and worsen the person's quality of life, due to embarrassing situations.

The tics of Tourette's syndrome usually appear between 5 and 7 years old, but tend to increase in intensity between 8 and 12 years old, starting with simple movements, such as blinking the eyes or moving the hands and arms, which later get worse, appearing repeated words, sudden movements and sounds such as barking, grunting, screaming or swearing, for example.

Some people are able to suppress tics during social situations, but others find it difficult to control them, especially if they are going through a time of emotional stress, which can make their school and professional life difficult.In some cases, the tics may improve and even disappear after adolescence, but in other people, these tics may persist into adulthood.

Main symptoms

Symptoms of Tourette's syndrome are usually initially noticed by teachers, who observe that the child begins to behave strangely in the classroom.

Some of these signs and symptoms can be:

Motor ticks

  • Blink your eyes;
  • Incline your head;
  • Shrug;
  • Touch the nose;
  • Making faces;
  • Move your fingers;
  • Make obscene gestures;
  • Kicks;
  • Shake the neck;
  • Beat the chest.

Vocal tics

  • Cursing;
  • Sobbing;
  • Shout;
  • Spit;
  • Cuckling;
  • Moan;
  • Howl;
  • Clear throat;
  • Repeat words or phrases;
  • Use different voice tones.

These symptoms come on repeatedly and are difficult to control, and in addition, they can evolve into different tics over time. Tics usually appear in childhood, but they can appear for the first time up to the age of 21.

Tics also tend to disappear when the person is sleeping, drinking alcoholic beverages or in an activity that requires great concentration, and worsen in situations of stress, tiredness, anxiety and excitement.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To arrive at the diagnosis of this syndrome, the doctor may have to observe the pattern of movements, which usually happen several times a day and practically every day for at least a year.

No specific tests are necessary to identify this disease, but in some cases, the neurologist may request an MRI or CT scan, for example, to check if there is a possibility that it is some other neurological disease with similar symptoms.

What causes the syndrome

Tourette's syndrome is a genetic disease, more common in people of the same family and its specific cause is not yet known. There are reports of people who were diagnosed after suffering a head injury, but infections and heart problems are also more frequent within the same family. More than 40% of patients also have symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder or hyperactivity.

How the treatment is done

Tourette syndrome has no cure, but it can be controlled with proper treatment. Treatment must be guided by a neurologist and is usually only started when symptoms of the disease affect daily activities or endanger the person's life.In these cases, the treatment can be done with:

  • Topiramate: it is a medication that helps to control mild or moderate tics, when obesity is associated;
  • Typical antipsychotics such as haloperidol or pimozide; or atypical, such as aripiprazole, ziprasidone, or risperidone;
  • Botox injections: are used in motor tics to paralyze the muscle affected by movements, reducing the onset of tics;
  • Adrenergic inhibitor drugs: such as Clonidine or Guanfacine, which help control behavioral symptoms such as impulsiveness and tantrums, for example.

Although there are several remedies that can be indicated for the treatment of Tourette syndrome, not all cases need to be treated with medication. Ideally, you should always consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine the best treatment, which may include only psychotherapy or behavioral therapy sessions, for example.

Is it necessary for the child to drop out of school?

The child diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome does not need to stop studying, because he has all the ability to learn, like all others who do not have this syndrome. The child can continue to attend regular school, without the need for special education, but one should talk to teachers, coordinators and directors about the child's he alth problem so that they can help in their development in a positive way.

Keeping teachers and classmates properly informed about the symptoms and treatments for this syndrome helps the child to be better understood, avoiding the isolation that can lead to depression. Medicines can be useful to help control tics, but psychotherapy sessions are also a fundamental part of the treatment, because the child knows about their he alth problem and cannot fully control it, often resulting in feelings of guilt and inadequacy..

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