The big question: What Causes Tourettes ?

The exact cause of Tourette’s Syndrome is not known. Current medical research believes that the cause of Tourette’s Syndrome has to do with abnormalities in specific brain regions. This includes abnormalities in the frontal lobes and cortex. It is believed that the abnormalities take place amongst the circuits that interconnect specific neurological regions, such as neurotransmitters. It is also believed, and supported by medical research, that Tourette’s Syndrome is directly related to the amount of dopamine and serotonin being created within the mind. The complex presentation of Tourette’s Syndrome leads many people at the medical research field to believe that the cause, as well as treatment options, will be equally complex.

Many children who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome also experience other neurological behavioral problems. Often, children who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome will also be diagnosed with hyperactivity disorders such as ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This disorder was recently discovered and is commonly treated with medication such as Ritalin.

ADHD usually shows its head during early childhood, generally around elementary level school. The children will start having difficulty keeping focus or paying attention to information provided to them. Roughly 3% to 5% of all children have ADHD, which would constitute nearly 2 million children in the United States. The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity – all symptoms that will usually show themselves in children with Tourette’s Syndrome.

Children with Tourette’s also often display signs of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). This is an anxiety disorder often characterized by recurring obsessions (or unwanted thoughts), and/or compulsive behavior (repetitive, uncontrollable behavior). People afflicted with this disorder might count the number of times they brush their teeth – and require that they brush the same number of times each time. They are often cleaning, checking on things, washing their hands, or counting. They often develop daily ritual behaviors and adhere to them strictly or else their anxiety levels will rise sharply.

Tourettes Diet Guide

Both OCD and ADHD behaviors are often shown in a person with Tourette’s Syndrome. And no wonder! Several genetic studies have shown that OCD and ADHD are genetically linked to the Tourette’s Syndrome – they have similar genetic structures, backgrounds, and effects. People with Tourette’s will often demonstrate both OCD and ADHD characteristics.

At the genetic level, it has also been determined that Tourette’s Syndrome is an inherited disorder. Parents who have Tourette’s (or had it when younger and grew out of it) will often have children with Tourette’s. It is also more likely that if a relative has Tourette’s, a child might have Tourette’s. However, it is unlikely that a genetic disposition will results in a severe Tourette’s Syndrome disorder. In the majority of cases Tourette’s Syndrome is expressed through minor tics or as an obsessive-compulsive behavior.

More than genetics, the sex of the person plays a larger role in their risk of being diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. It is far more likely for an at-risk male to develop Tourette’s Syndrome than it is for an at-risk female. It is also far more likely that an at-risk female develops obsessive-compulsive symptoms than it is for an at-risk male.

It is very important that a person who is suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome has some type of genetic counseling so that they can better understand the potential hereditary problems and conditions that exist in the family.

But there is good news!…. actually great news: In the vast majority of cases the symptoms can be treated effectively with simple diet changes.

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© Mary Anderson 2018.