When most people think of Tourette’s syndrome they most probably think of a person rolling off streams of expletives, so you might be surprised to learn that swearing isn’t a particularly common trait amongst those suffering from tourette’s syndrome. The form of tourette’s that sees the sufferer swear uncontrollably (a complex phonic tic) is actually the rarest form of Tourette’s syndrome known as Coprolalia. More commonly someone with tourette’s will suffer from verbal and physical tics which generally take the shape of head jerks, blinking, teeth grinding, eye rolling, and neck twisting as well as grunts, squeaks, coughs, blowing and screaming. Sufferers tend to find that their symptoms become worse when they are stressed, anxious, ill, tired, nervous or excited and ease off when they are involved and concentrating on an activity such as reading or playing sport. Some people suffering from muscle spasms and tics may often suspect tourette’s when actually a condition called dystonia is to blame. The cause isn’t known but research suggests a link with a group of specialised brain cells called the basal gangalia which are involved with motor function, emotion and learning. Treatments are available to control symptoms, with most sufferers finding a combination of behaviour therapy and medication working best.
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