What are the symptoms and risk factors of Tourette syndrome?
The hallmark symptoms of Tourette syndrome are tics
— sudden, brief, intermittent movements or sounds.
Tics can range from mild to severe. Severe symptoms might significantly interfere with communication, daily functioning and quality of life.
Tics are classified as:
Tics also can involve movement (motor tics) or sounds (vocal tics)
- Simple tics. These sudden, brief and repetitive tics involve a limited number of muscle groups;
- Complex tics. These distinct, coordinated patterns of movements involve several muscle groups.
. Motor tics usually begin before vocal tics do. But the spectrum of tics that people experience is diverse.
Common motor tics seen in Tourette syndrome
- Eye blinking
- Head jerking
- Shoulder shrugging
- Eye darting
- Nose twitching
- Mouth movements
Common vocal tics seen in Tourette syndrome
- Touching or smelling objects
- Repeating observed movements
- Stepping in a certain pattern
- Obscene gesturing
- Bending or twisting
- Throat clearing
- Repeating one's own words or phrases
- Repeating others' words or phrases
- Using vulgar, obscene or swear words
Risk factors for Tourette syndrome include:
- Family history. Having a family history of Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders might increase the risk of developing Tourette syndrome.
- Sex. Males are about three to four times more likely than females to develop Tourette syndrome.