What is Tics (Tourette Syndrome)?
These common abnormal movements occur in children often in late childhood, and are frequently brought on by a bout of ill health or an emotional crisis. However, there may be no obvious cause except that the child appears to be highly strung. Children occasionally make strange repetitive movements, twitch and wink and make grimaces for no apparent reason. The age group is commonly between five and ten years. The movements are usually described as being “repetitive, purposeless and involuntary.” Often they started for a given purpose, probably following a persisting cold or nasal allergy in which there was an irritation that felt better after it had been touched. But then a habit is established and this may continue. An inbuilt automation takes over, and the spasm or tic continues.
The range is unlimited. The child may wink, toss the head or shoulders, jerk the hands or arms. Usually the upper part of the body is involved. Frequently these have an emotional basis.
There are sudden, rapid, twitching movements, always of the same nature and in the same region, or there may be sudden utterances, often explosive in nature. Once again there may be a train of complex movements produced by an idea that becomes imperative in the mind of the patient. Any combination of these may take place.
Tics (Tourette Syndrome) Symptoms
The “simple tic” is common. It sets in suddenly and may reach its high point within a few days. The actions are simple in nature. They occur suddenly and without warning and are carried out quickly. Generally, the movement is of one kind only repeated often. The most common area is the face, and blinking, winking, lifting and lowering the eyebrows, side-to-side movements of the mouth, throwing the chin into the air, and sudden moving of the tongue and larynx, complete with unusual fidgeting noises, take place.
This may be associated with movements of the neck and shoulders, and probably of the limbs. Usually the movements cease with sleep. They may be occasional, but often occur rapidly, following one another in quick succession. Excitement and emotional strains will accentuate them, and if the child is being observed (and is aware of it), they invariably worsen. The movements may be controlled at will, but only for a limited period of time.
Tics (Tourette Syndrome) Treatment
Generally, there is a nervous basis. Once more, it is a case of discovering what this is and trying to rectify it from the grassroots. Children who are dominated by strict parents are more probable candidates. Those in a serene, happy family setting are much less likely to develop this disability. Make certain your children are happy in their surroundings, be this at home or school, in their studies or competitive sporting activities. Eliminating tensions and stresses and inculcating a positive attitude of security is by far the best form of therapy, and the most successful. Medication is now available in severe, persisting cases.