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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Tourette's Syndrome and ADHD

04/26/1998

Question:

I burst into strange mouth noises and curse words both in speech and in songs. I never do this in public, but often do when alone or with my wife, so I suspect my ability to control it when it really matters makes me a non-Touretter. I don't know, however, and would like to find out more.

Can Tourette's syndrome be more severe in one patient than another? Can it cause only sporadic behavior problems, or is it always an all-day condition? Do certain stressors set off Tourette's episodes? Please help, because I suspect I have it.

Answer:

Tourette's syndrome is a chronic disorder of the nervous system, believed to be related to an inadequate balance of neurotransmitters or chemicals such as dopamine or serotonin.
 
A classic symptom is tics which can be either in the form of muscle movements, like grimacing, or in the form of vocal tics where the person repeatedly yells out curse words (coprolalia), although this behavior is not that common.

Certainly with any disorder there are varying degrees of expression. Anxiety or stressful situations may trigger some of the symptoms. About half of the patients with Tourette's also show symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders; in addition, to the presence of tics, the person may behave impulsively, be unable to maintain an attention span and be very active.

The fact that you are raising these questions about yourself is to be commended. Make an appointment with your primary health care provider and be honest with him/her about these symptoms. There are several medications that can improve the symptoms, such as Clonidine, Haldol or Risperidone. Your doctor can make an appropriate referral to a neurologist who can best evaluate you and prescribe the best treatment for you.
 
There are also several support resources out there. One can be accessed through one of our web links called CHADD. Or if you enter this web site you will get a wealth of information about Tourette's through this site: http://www.chadd.org/tsprime.htm

Good Luck!

Related Resources:

CHADD

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Marcia   Hern, RN, EdD Marcia Hern, RN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati