Response to Channel 4 documentary “British Tourettes Mystery”

T.I.C. official statement in response to the channel 4 Documentary Britain’s Tourettes Mystery.

We understand that many within our community have suffered distress over the information provided in last night’s programme, Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery: Scarlett Moffatt Investigates. We would like to emphasise as previously stated, we are always here to listen and support. As a charity, we work on the ground, providing a safe place for people to come to seek support, guidance, or just to feel free amongst people who understand.
Alongside ourselves, other charities such as Tourettes Action and Tourette Scotland are there to reach out to.
There are some points we would like to address:

Tourette Syndrome is a Neurological condition, to be diagnosed with Tourette’s you must present with at least 2 motor tics AND at least 1 vocal tic that have been present for over 12 months.
Tourettes is NOT an illness, it is NOT contagious, you CANNOT catch it. Tics are involuntary movements and sounds, they can be triggered by environmental factors, including not limited to anxiety, sensory input, and co-existing conditions such as OCD and ADHD.

The presentation of tics does NOT mean that a person has Tourette Syndrome. Tics can also be a symptom of other conditions including FND (Functional Neurological Disorder). These tics are functional tics which prevent the function of certain actions and can present differently to those of Tourette’s. It is important to note that many individuals with Tourette’s may also have FND.

When you have met one person with Tourette’s, you have met one person with Tourette’s. No one person will present identically to another.

In the case of sudden onset in teenage girls, we feel it is important to highlight the common understanding that girls with neurological disorders can mask their conditions. Lockdown from COVID-19 and not accessing school or friends could have a very different impact on boys and girls which has nothing to do with playing video games, as was stated in the documentary.

We strongly promote positive representations of Tourette’s! People with Tourette’s have turned to social media to tell new types of stories and reclaim the narratives about their condition and create empowered communities.

It is beneficial to those living with the condition that they have a positive support network whether this be family, friends, or support groups, whether they are facilitated in person or in online spaces, such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. We believe that community is vital, and encourage people with Tourette’s to engage in it.

Tourette’s can be hard, with some symptoms being extremely debilitating for some. However, having Tourette’s does not prevent you living a full and enriched life. As a charity we have members with Tourette’s who are racing car drivers, teachers, researchers, actors, scientists, and engineers to name just a few.

For more information on conditions that have been mentioned

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