We frequently hear from people who find themselves overwhelmed by the diagnosis of Tourette syndrome. I’ve developed an article that I hope will serve as a quick reference and can be shared with others who are looking for an introduction to this increasingly common condition.
Tics and Tourettes: Symptoms and Diagnosis
Tics are often mild and go away on their own, but when they persist, efforts should be made to learn what is causing them. A health professional may be needed to determine what type of tic disorder is present and to rule out medical conditions that can cause tics.
Symptoms of tics vary widely in severity, type, and area of the body affected. Please see our article on tic symptoms. Families can do a great deal on their own to investigate causes of tic symptoms. If you can identify triggers for the tics, you have helped determine the diagnosis. For example, many people report that exposure to certain allergens, toxic chemicals and/or foods aggravates tics. For those people, a classic diagnosis of a tic disorder is not very useful; they need to go beyond the label given in conventional medicine and explore the role of allergies and the immune system in the condition.
Currently, tics that are not due to medications or other medical conditions are categorized as one of three types 1) Tourette syndrome; 2) a persistent (chronic) motor or vocal tic disorder; and 3) a provisional tic disorder. Our article on diagnosing tic disorders explains the criteria for each of these.
ACN Latitudes urges families to explore the causes and possible triggers of symptoms rather than simply accept a diagnosis or label for the tics. We are the lead organization investigating and promoting the role of the environment in tic disorders.
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