- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Know If Your Tic or Twitch is Tourette's Syndrome
Do you have a tic or two? The portrayal of Tourette's by Hollywood always seems to focus on someone who has a very severe case and these DO exist. However, most cases of Tourette's are mild and do not fit the stereotype at all.
A tic or twitch can be something you have had most of your life and perhaps you have gotten so use to it you don't even pay much attention to it. Or, perhaps you have always had a tic and never understood why.
A tic is an involuntary thing that can be motor, vocal, etc. A tic can manifest as sniffing, coughing, throat clearing, swallowing, a facial twitch, a movement of a limb, etc. It is something you have no control over and it must happen...it must manifest.
People may misunderstand your tic. If you have throat clearing and coughing you will get tired of people asking if you are sick or if you have an allergy. If you have a sniffing tic people may ask if you have a cold or if you need a tissue.
So, not all cases of Tourette's are people who bark like a dog or who involuntarily call people bad names, etc. as Hollywood would have you believe.
Tourette's also generally comes with a compulsive or obsessive component. A compulsion is action oriented and an obsession is thought oriented. A compulsion may manifest as repeated hand washing, rechecking things over and over, having to follow a certain route or avoiding one. An obsession may manifest as being unable to get a thought out of your head and it keeps repeating and you can't control it.
If you have a tic and some component of obsessive compulsive disorder you likely have Tourette's. You should see a neurologist if you are curious. An official diagnosis can be very liberating. Your slightly odd behavior or condition you had always been curious about could be a case of the neuro psychiatric disorder of Tourette's.
I honestly believe many people with Tourette's have gifts of insight, recognition or awareness that most other people do not. The condition comes with nuances that cannot be understood by those not affected and only barely understood by those who are directly affected.
There is no cure for Tourette's but there are many things that can reduce its impact. There are a few medications that can help---ask the neurologist; Pimozide (Orap) comes to mind. Fatigue and anxiety generally exacerbate the condition while stress reduction and rest offer relief.