Tourette’s syndrome was first described by Dr. Tourette in the late part of the 19th Century and refers to a neurological condition which is associated with involuntary, repetitive and stereotyped movements called tics. Reports suggest that the first symptoms of the condition are noticed in early childhood, between the ages of 3 to 9 years.
The condition affects individuals belonging to all ethnic groups and affects males about three and a half times more than females. Estimates suggest that approximately 200000 Americans suffer from severe form of this condition, while the prevalence of the condition is estimated to be approximately one in 100, varying in severity.
The condition is chronic in nature and the symptoms persist throughout life, however in most cases, the symptoms are worse during teens and improve through adulthood.
Causes Of Tourette Syndrome
Currently the cause for Tourette’s Syndrome is not known, however research studies have indicated the role of certain abnormalities in the brain region namely frontal lobe and the cortex, the neuronal connections and neurotransmitters namely dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
Reports have suggested however that Tourette’s syndrome is closely linked with,
- Other neurobehavioral disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder.
- Dyslexia and problems with writing, reading and arithmetic.
- Obsessive compulsive disorders with symptoms of repetitive behaviors and intrusive worries.
While in most cases the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome declines in adulthood, the other neurobehavioral symptoms like anxiety, depression, etc may continue to persist.
Tourette’s Syndrome Symptoms
The condition is characterized by the presence of tics which can either be complex or simple in nature. Some of the key symptoms include,
- Simple tics like repetitive blinking of the eye or other movements of the eye, grimacing, shrugging of the shoulders and jerking of the head.
- Simple vocalization may include sniffing, grunting or repetitively clearing the throat.
- Complex tics may involve multiple groups of muscles and may appear purposeful which include hopping, bending, twisting, etc.
- Complex vocalization may include repetitive use of certain phrases or words. In some cases the individual may suffer from coprolalia (i.e. inappropriate words or swearing) or echolalia (i.e. repetitive using of the same phrase or words).
The symptoms of the condition are worse during anxiety or excitement and improve during more focused activities. In some cases, the tics may continue during sleep.
Natural Treatment For Tourette’s Syndrome
While treatment can help reduce the severity of the symptoms, a more comprehensive behavioral therapy may be required to alleviate the symptoms significantly. Here are some simple home remedies and natural treatment options that can be beneficial,
- St. John’s Wart is an herb that helps deal with mild level of anxiety and depression. The use of this herb can help improve mental stability, reduce anxiety and thereby reduce the severity of the symptoms.
- Vitamin B12 and magnesium supplements are considered vital in improving the symptoms. Vitamin B12 improves neuronal coordination while magnesium helps improve mental focus.
- Include mood foods like Banana, dark chocolate, strawberries and dairy products in the diet. These foods are known to help improve the production of serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and help in reducing the severity of some of the symptoms.
- Gelsimium, a homeopathic drug is of significant benefit. This drug should be taken in low potency and repeated about thrice in a day. This drug is generally useful in improving muscle coordination and is beneficial in more severe forms of the syndrome.