Dispelling the Myths
Everyone with Tourette Syndrome swears.
Incorrect! Around 10% of people with TS have coprolalia, the use of inappropriate words.
People with Tourette 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.
Tourette Syndrome is caused by stress or bad parenting.
Incorrect! Tourette 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 Tourette Syndrome suffer from mental illness.
Incorrect! Although often treated by psychiatrists, Tourette 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 Tourette Syndrome can’t lead normal lives.
Incorrect! Whilst Tourette Syndrome can have a profoundly negative impact on the lifestyle of some individuals, others can lead rich and fulfilling lives. Many people with Tourette 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 Tourette Syndrome have gone on to become successful musicians, surgeons, and athletes amongst many other notable professions.