Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that starts in childhood (usually between the ages of 2 and 12). Often referred to as simply “Tourette’s,” the disorder is characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Tics vary in type and severity and may include rapid blinking, shoulder shrugging, head jerking, sticking out the tongue, smelling objects, obscene gesturing or language, flapping arms, hopping, touching the nose, yelling, barking, repeating words or phrases, hiccupping or throat clearing.
Boys are about three times more likely to develop the disorder than girls and the syndrome’s exact cause isn’t clear. The annoying symptoms of Tourette’s can often lessen or become more controlled once individuals reach adulthood. A qualified mental health professional is often able to help individuals suffering from Tourette’s to reduce tics through behavioral and awareness training.