About Tourette Syndrome

Tics are sudden, involuntary and repetitive muscle movements. Tics that produce movement are called “motor tics”, while tics that produce sound are called “vocal tics”. Tics can occur in nearly any part of the body.

Examples of different types of tics may include:

  • Simple motor tics: eye blinking, eye movements, facial grimacing, nose twitching, mouth movements, head jerks and turns, shoulder shrugging
  • Complex motor tics: slower and seemingly more purposeful movements, facial gestures, self-biting, hand gestures and prolonged gyrating
  • Simple vocal tics: throat cleaning, coughing, sniffing, spitting, grunting, sucking
  • Complex vocal tics: apparently more “meaningful” syllables, phrases and words; echolalia, coprolalia

Tourette Syndrome is diagnosed when an individual has multiple motor tics AND at least one vocal tic, that continue for a year or more but probably change with time.


    1. “Tourette Syndrome only occurs in childhood and it would disappear gradually. Therefore, we need not be concerned about it.”
      Around 30%-40% of the patients would experience symptom remission as they grow up. However, around 30% of them would have symptoms persist into adulthood.

    1. “Tourette Syndrome is contagious We should keep a distance from those with it.”
      Tourette Syndrome is not an infectious disease. It won’t spread via any kind of contact. Patients with Tourette’s Syndrome shouldn’t be isolated.

    1. “Tics and epilepsy are the same thing.”
      Tics and epilepsy are two different neurological disorders. Epilepsy is caused by sudden abnormal electrical activities in the brain. It may lead to loss of consciousness or impair the conscious level. Whereas for tics, only particular muscle groups are affected and the patients’ consciousness is maintained. Moreover, their treatment and prognosis are also different.

    1. “Kids with Tourette Syndrome just deliberately produce the sounds and make the moves for fun.”
      Tics are involuntary movements. Although the affected ones maybe able to suppress tics for a short while but it usually followed by a subsequent surge. Children with Tourette Syndrome shouldn’t be blamed for the symptoms that they suffered from.

  1. “Tourette Syndrome could not be cured by medications.”
    There are currently no specific drugs that can bring about total permanent cessation of tics. Several medications can only reduce the frequency or intensity of tics for a period of time. Additionally, it is possible to reduce tics by practicing behavioural treatment such as habit reversal training (HRT). You should be aware that the effectiveness of HRT and medication varies patient by patient.

For patients with Tourette Syndrome

If you encounter bullies, please remember:
  1. To keep calm.
  2. To talk to your parents, teachers and friends.
  3. You have the right to be safe, and being bullied is not your fault.

Please do advocate for yourselves:
  1. “Tourette syndrome should not stop me from what I want to do!”
  2. “I could lead a normal life even with Tourette Syndrome.”
  3. “I have Tourette syndrome, but I have my own mastery.”

Useful links: