Clinical assessment of Tourette syndrome and tic disorders

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Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder involving multiple motor and phonic tics. Tics, which usually begin between the ages of 6 and 8, are sudden, rapid, stereotyped, and apparently purposeless movements or sounds that involve discrete muscle groups. Individuals with TS experience a variety of different sensory phenomena, including premonitory urges prior to tics and somatic hypersensitivity due to impaired sensorimotor gating. In addition to other conditions, stress, anxiety, fatigue, or other heightened emotional states tend to exacerbate tics, while relaxation, playing sports, and focused concentration on a specific task tend to alleviate tic symptoms. Ninety percent of children with TS also have comorbid conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or an impulse control disorder. These disorders often cause more problems for the child both at home and at school than tics do alone. Proper diagnosis and treatment of TS involves appropriate evaluation and recognition, not only of tics, but also of these associated conditions.

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