Dispelling the Myths
Everyone with Tourettes Syndrome swears.
Incorrect! Around 10% of people with TS have coprolalia, the use of inappropriate words.
People with Tourettes Syndrome can control their movements and sounds if they want to.
Incorrect! Some individuals may be able to suppress their tics for an un-sustained period.
Tourettes Syndrome is caused by stress or bad parenting.
Incorrect! Tourettes Syndrome is a neurological condition. There may be factors like stress, anxiety, happiness, hunger, or environmental issues that can increase the severity of tics in some individuals.
Tics only occur in children.
Incorrect! Whilst tics can be more frequently seen in children they can occur at any age. To get a diagnosis of TS they have to be present before the age of 18.
People with Tourettes Syndrome suffer from mental illness.
Incorrect! Although often treated by psychiatrists, Tourettes Syndrome is not a psychiatric illness. Rather, it is a movement disorder that often occurs along with other psychiatric conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit (hyperactivity) Disorder, anxiety, etc.
People with Tourettes Syndrome can’t lead normal lives.
Incorrect! Whilst Tourettes Syndrome can have a profoundly negative impact on the lifestyle of some individuals, others can lead rich and fulfilling lives. Many people with Tourettes Syndrome are high-achievers and find that their tics tend to subside when they are concentrating hard on a task. This accounts for the fact that people with Tourettes Syndrome have gone on to become successful musicians, surgeons, and athletes amongst many other notable professions.