Most frequent questions and answers

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterised by repeated involuntary movements and sounds (tics) that cannot be controlled.

Simple or mild tics might include things like blinking, grunting, shrugging, eye darting and twitching. Complex and severe tics are much more disruptive to a person’s everyday life. These are the kind of tics Bianca suffers from. Complex tics include using vulgar, obscene language and swear words, banging objects, hitting, extreme body movements and jerking, smelling, touching and tasting objects (usually ones you should not!).

Tics cannot be stopped or controlled. A person with TS may be able to suppress a tic for a short amount of time, but this is only temporary and often leads to an outburst of tics afterward.

The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn’t known. It’s a complex disorder likely caused by a combination of inherited (genetic) and environmental factors.

There is no cure for TS; however, the condition in many individuals improves as they mature. Individuals with TS can expect to live a normal life span. Although TS is generally lifelong and chronic, it is not degenerative. In a few cases, complete remission occurs after adolescence.

People with Tourette syndrome often lead healthy, active lives. However, TS frequently involves behavioural and social challenges that can harm the person’s self-image.

Conditions often associated with Tourette syndrome include:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pain related to tics, especially headaches