Those living life with Tourette Syndrome often say, “I have Tourette’s, but Tourette’s doesn’t have me.” Like many other neurological conditions, people find that they can live full lives despite their diagnosis. What’s important is a strong support system that includes emotional backing coupled with a specially trained medical team of physicians and nurses, like those at Texas Health.
Tourette Syndrome is Individual but Common
Tourette Syndrome, or TS, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence. According to Tourette Association of America, the disease is part of the spectrum of tic disorders and is characterized by motor and vocal tics. The type, frequency and intensity of tics can vary widely from person to person, and some tic disorders may even be transient, while others persist into adolescence and adulthood. There is no cure for Tourette Syndrome, but thanks to years of dedicated research, there are various treatment options.
“For some, symptoms of Tourette Syndrome can be debilitating to the point where it impacts their life and emotions, and cognitive behavioral therapy is something that can help,” said Hamid Kadiwala, M.D., a neurologist on the medical staff of Texas Health Fort Worth. “For others, they have mild symptoms that don’t really impact daily life.”
For many people, receiving a diagnosis of Tourette’s can be both a relief from the unknown, coupled with anxiety about the future.
“First and foremost, many patients like the idea that they can put a name to what they are feeling,” Kadiwala said. “When someone is diagnosed, there is some relief in knowing that a doctor recognizes the symptoms and knows what the patient is feeling and talking about. When we discuss a diagnosis, the patient is relieved to know that someone understands.”
Support Is an Important Tool
It’s important to know that having Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders is not rare. In fact, according to Tourette Association of America, it’s estimated that one out of every 160 children between the ages of five and 17 in the U.S. has Tourette’s and one out of every 100 has TS and another tic disorder.
Some choose to be vocal about their condition and find that explaining it to those around them helps people understand the condition. Others choose to be more private about their disease.
“It depends on the person,” Kadiwala said. “The first step is to build confidence in yourself and understand your condition. Having both self-confidence and self-understanding makes it easier not to worry about what people have to say.”
Find a neurologist on the medical staff at a Texas Health hospital near you.