Not that I live with Tourette Syndrome but I came across this video while studying for my National Board Medical Examination, for my Psychiatric Clerkship. Every now and then, it helps me to relate to the topic I am studying, to look at videos of individuals suffering from the disorder.
Just a little brief background on Tourette’s syndrome. It’s a disorder that’s associated with multiple motor tics (involuntary muscle movements), verbal or phonic tics (either speaking out words; sometimes curse words, sometimes repetitious after someone’s said it, or making noises), that last for at least 1 year and is present multiple times per day or occurs daily.
I remember when I started university, there was an experience I had with a kid who had Tourette Syndrome, who made phonic tics even while in the library and that was the first time. At that time I just felt it was odd and did feel bad for him, but I didn’t know much about it back then. Now after seeing this video, even after having been exposed to the information associated with this disorder, it is still heart-wrenching to see these young kids already feeling frustrated over something they have no control over.
It is actually shown that there is an association with Tourette Syndrome with neuroanatomical changes like thickening of the cortical regions and decrease brain mass of the frontal lobe. So there is structural changes associated with the disorder. Not only that but it is also associated with increased risk of developing ADHD or/and OCD. As you would see in the video, they describe the tics as an itch that needs to be scratched and they do it to satisfy that itch. Obsessive Compulsive disorder, is associated with an obsession (thought, an idea, etc. – think of this as the itch -) and performing some type of compulsion (hit the table, say some particular words, etc; – think of this as the scratch); which is done to reduce the anxiety.