|With Tourette’s Syndrome, which usually starts in childhood, individuals feel an irresistible urge to make sounds and body movements that are beyond their control. These uncontrollable movements and sounds are called tics.
For people with Tourette’s Syndrome, tics can be extremely distressing, only bringing relief once they have been expressed. In some cases, they might blurt out obscenities - an element of Tourette’s Syndrome that is rare, and one that has been unfairly exaggerated in movies and television shows.
Tics often increase with tension, and decrease with relaxation or when focusing on an absorbing task. Although it is a newly recognized condition, Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette (after whom the condition is named) described nine cases in 1885.
While Tourette’s Syndrome is often thought of as a type of mental illness, Tourette’s Syndrome is actually classified as a neurological (brain) disorder.