Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The first symptoms of TS are almost always noticed in childhood often include:
- eye blinking and other vision irregularities
- facial grimacing
- shoulder shrugging
- head or shoulder jerking
- vocal tics including coprolalia (uttering swear words) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others)
Many children with TS also experience symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms such as intrusive thoughts or worries and repetitive behaviors. TS is a complicated disorder and successful biomedical treatment involves investigation of underlying weaknesses.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The relationship between OCD and TS is well documented. Children with OCD experience a number of metabolic and physiological abnormalities that, when addressed, improve anxiety and decrease symptoms.
Due to the complex nature of TS and OCD, it is important to individually evaluate children to identify problems. Immune irregularities, digestive issues, viruses, yeast, bacterial overgrowth in the gut and nutrient deficiencies can all play a role. TS and OCD are much like a tightly tied knots in the nervous system. It takes time and effort to identify the most effective way to unravel these knots but when successful, children who undergo biomedical treatment can have their lives transformed.