Tourette Syndrome and the Case

And the movements which typify chronic movement disorder are probably subserved by the same structures within the basal ganglia as those which underpin compulsive behaviors and complex tics” (p. 470).

In addition to the other disorders associated with Tourettes, there are (not surprisingly) many emotional and social problems that affect its sufferers. Many sufferers of Tourettes are afraid to go out in public for fear of embarrassment, and many have very low self-esteem. There are also noted problems of aggression in Tourettes sufferers, not only because the tics themselves can manifest themselves aggressively, but also because the victims are angry that they were cursed with this debilitating and often humiliating disorder. Making matters even worse is the fact that feelings of anger and stress can actually increase the symptoms of Tourettes (Prestia, 2003).

While there is no known cure for Tourettes, there are ways of reducing the emotional and social side effects. These solutions are rooted in the dissemination of accurate information that promotes understanding and tolerance. The theory is that is people understood the disorder better, they would be less likely to tease or laugh at or feel uncomfortable around the sufferer. There are also some medications that can slow down the frequency of the tics, but as of yet, nothing has been developed that can stop them or reduce them significantly. Kenny had varying levels of success with Clonidine, Haldol and Pimozide but the side effects were unbearable.

It is also important to keep in mind that “tics might be aggravated by the use of medications taken for other purposes. Stimulants and products containing stimulants, (e.g., caffeinated beverages, cough syrup, diet medication, etc.), psychoactive drugs and recreational drugs (e.g., cocaine) may worsen the tics”

A great deal of things about Tourettes remain a mystery. However one thing that is known for sure about the cause of Tourettes is that it is genetically transmitted. According to Brady (2006) “A person with Tourettes has a 50 per cent chance of passing the relevant gene on to his/her children with each separate pregnancy – however it may manifest itself as Tourettes, or as a milder disorder or obsessive compulsive behavior.” There is also speculation that the disorder is “linked to the abnormal metabolism of at least a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called dopamine.” While it is clearly a neurobiological condition, there are not however, as of yet, any firm conclusions as to the actual cause of Tourette Syndrome.


Brady, E. (2006, January 5) How Jessicas learning to live with Tourettes, the Birmingham Post (England), 4

Carr, a. (1999) the handbook of child and adolescent clinical psychology: A contextual approach, Routledge

Hendren, G. (2002), Tourette Syndrome: A new look at an old condition, the Journal of Rehabilitation, 68, 22-30

Prestia, K. (2003), Tourettes.

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