Tourette Syndrome: Know The Basics

“Dropping F Bombs”


Tourette’s disorder, or Tourette syndrome

(TS) as it is frequently called, is a neurologic syndrome. The essential feature of Tourette’s are multiple tics that are sudden, rapid, recurrent, non-rhythmic, stereotypical, purposeless movements or vocalizations.

 What are the symptoms of Tourette syndrome?
  • Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics are present at some time during the illness, although not necessarily simultaneously
  • Occurrence many times a day nearly every day or intermittently throughout a span of more than one year
  • Significant impairment or marked distress in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • Onset before the age of 18.

 Symptoms can disappear for weeks or months at a time and severity waxes and wanes.


What are the first tics that may be characteristic of Tourette’s syndrome?

Usually, the facial tic, such as rapid blinking of the eyes or twitches of the mouth, may be the first indication a parent has that their child may have Tourette’s syndrome. Involuntary sounds, such as throat clearing and sniffing, or tics of the limbs may be an initial sign in other children.


Are any other symptoms associated with Tourette’s syndrome?

Approximately 50 percent of patients meet criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and this may be the more impairing problem. Approximately one-third of patients meet criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or have other forms of anxiety. Learning disabilities are common as well as developmental stuttering. Social discomfort, self-consciousness and depressed mood frequently occur, especially as children reach adolescence.


Yelling and irrational

What causes these symptoms?

Although the cause has not been definitely established, there is considerable evidence that Tourette’s syndrome arises from abnormal metabolism of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Other neurotransmitters may be involved.


Can Tourette’s syndrome be inherited?

Genetic studies indicate that Tourette’s syndrome is inherited as an autosomal dominant gene but different family members may have dissimilar symptoms. A parent has a 50 percent chance of passing the gene to one of his or her children. The range of symptomatology varies from multiple severe tics to very minor tics with varying degrees of attention deficit-disorder and OCD.


Are boys or girls more likely to have Tourette’s syndrome?

The sex of the child can influence the expression of the Tourette’s syndrome gene. Girls with the gene have a 70 percent chance of displaying symptoms, boys with the gene have a 99 percent chance of displaying symptoms. Ratios of boys with Tourette’s syndrome to girls with Tourette’s syndrome are 3:1. 


How is Tourette’s syndrome diagnosed?

No blood analysis, x-ray or other medical test exists to identify Tourette’s syndrome. Diagnosis is made by observing the signs or symptoms as described above. A doctor may wish to use a CAT scan, EEG, or other tests to rule out other ailments that could be confused with TS. Some medications cause tics, so it is important to inform the professional doing the assessment of any prescribed, over-the-counter, or street drugs to which the patient may have been exposed.


What are the benefits of seeking early treatment of Tourette syndrome symptoms?

When a child’s behavior is viewed as disruptive, frightening, or bizarre by peers, family, teachers, or friends, it provokes ridicule and rejection. Teachers and other children can feel threatened and exclude the child from activities or interpersonal relationships. A child’s socialization difficulties will increase as he reaches adolescence. Therefore, it is very important for the child’s self-esteem and emotional well-being that treatment be sought as early as possible.


What treatments are available for Tourette syndrome?

Not everyone is disabled by his or her symptoms, so medication may not be necessary. When symptoms interfere with functioning, medication can effectively improve attention span, decrease impulsivity, hyperactivity, tics, and obsessive-compulsive symptomatology. Relaxation techniques and behavior therapy may also be useful for tics, ADD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. 


How does Tourette syndrome affect the education of a child or adolescent with Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome alone does not affect the IQ of a child. Many children who have Tourette syndrome, however, also have learning disabilities or attention deficits. Frequently, therefore, special education may be needed for a child with Tourette syndrome. Teachers should be given factual information about the disorder and, if learning difficulties appear, the child should be referred to the school system for assessment of other learning problems.


What is the course of Tourette syndrome?

Some people with Tourette syndrome show a marked improvement in their late teens or early twenties. However, tics as well as ADD and OCD behavior, may wax and wane over the course of the life span.   


Reviewed by Charles T. Gordon, III, M.D., 2003


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Seek Out the Gold

In the vault of the Holy Spirit
“He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?”
Matthew 13:54, NLT


Chapter 13 of Matthew is your very own gold mine.  There are veins of precious ore throughout these parables.  They will give their riches to anyone humble enough to seek them.  They each are concentrated truth–these parables are gold!

Parables are a fascinating way to impart teaching that requires a quiet and gentle heart.  Not everyone will gain access to them.  The truth in them will only touch the hungry heart, the real seeker.  It’s like they are locked up, and the Holy Spirit has the combination, but He will gladly share it with the sincere heart.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He arrives in His hometown.  He goes to the synagogue and begins to teach. (What an awesome time to be in the congregation.)  Their teacher Jesus is absolutely astounding!  They stand and watch Him; they are astonished and amazed.  The text tells us that Jesus not only taught them, but He performed supernatural healings.

The people in Nazareth who were witnesses in such a direct way, begin to draw false conclusions about Jesus.  They can’t deal with His youth and can’t believe what He has come from God–as their Messiah. 

However the general consensus was profound;  “everyone” was in agreement with what they had just witnessed.  For a few, they would never be the same.  When we encounter Jesus, and hear His wisdom, and see His wonders–it has the power to change us.  And that is no mean feat.

A Clear Case of Forgiveness


When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Luke 7:42, ESV

 We are all in debt.  Some owe $10,000.  Others owe $500,000.  But we are all in debt.  And believe me, things are pretty grim.  Many lament our huge national debt, they have figured out that each individual owes thousands of dollars.  It seems very unfair that so much is owed by just a single person.  However, our debt with God and His law is far beyond our ability to pay.

The Father’s intention and focus is to forgive us, it may seem confusing, but He has kicked off a plan that leads to total and comprehensive forgiveness for anyone who will simply believe.  It’s amazing, and fantastical, but He has decided to forgive our debt.  It doesn’t matter in the slightest what we have done.  We may be a mass murdering Satanist, but when we turn at Him, everything is forgiven and then quickly forgotten.

Everyone who looks to Him, and clings to Him, has their debt forgiven.  The debt has been cancelled, and we have been released completely.  There is no liability, nothing is incurred.  We have been incredibily released.  Absolutely forgiven.  There can be no rebuttal.  No one can state otherwise.

There is one solitary issue that remains, although many would argue about its significance.  That issue is reciprocal love.  In your heart of hearts, you fully know your debt.  And you understand its implications.  The scripture states that you will love according to your forgiven debt.  If you’ve been forgiven much, you will love much.

The degree and severity of your iniquity can be forgiven.  But love should fill the vacancy.  He looks and anticipates your response to His offer.  But love really should be your only response.  We love Him and the amazing things He has set in motion.  We should be astounded at His incredibly deep generosity.  Especially when it concerns us so profoundly.

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The Way Things Are, Really

“We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.”  Eph. 6:12-13, CEV


We cannot divorce ourselves from this particular reality.  We can not pick and choose.  Warfare is part of what we have inherited.  We better not pretend that this is not so.  The battle comes to us, whether we like it or not.  There is an atmosphere of conflict that we are constantly living in.

Some of us never see this truth.  And others choose not to respond to it.  Some are confused by the scope of the battle, and find themselves fighting against people.  But the war is fundamentally spiritual.  And perhaps that is the problem.  “Spiritual” can be a vague and nebulous concept.  It seems far away and irrelevant.

Paul shares this vital truth with the Ephesian church.  He is firmly rooted in reality.  With great clarity, he identifies “forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.”  These are incredibly real, and represent the deep evil in our world at its most fundamental level.  It is important to note, flesh and blood are never really the issue.

Throughout history, the covenant people of God have faced extermination.  The darkness seems insurmountable. It hems in the people of faith and will take them captive.  Ancient Israel and Judah had an extensive dealings with the darkness.  Warfare was normal.  They understood that survival meant conflict.

“The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” 

Ex. 14:14

This lays down a core principle of our warfare.  God interjects Himself between His covenant people and those dark forces who intend to destroy them.  He not only buffers them, but He aggressively destroys their power.  These ‘powers’ and ‘rulers of the dark’ are defeated.

 “We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments.”  

2 Cor. 10:4, NCV

Perhaps we’re being too fine and imprecise.  Human beings have often enmeshed themselves with darkness.  They have chosen to blend themselves with evil.  They choose darkness over the light.  Personal gratification is often involved.  They barter their freedom and innocence for trifling sins.  There is power and there is presence.  The darkness has the power, and people have the presence.

“We fight” are two words of incredibly clear purpose and meaning.  You cannot extract the militancy out of Paul’s message.  He understands the war going on in the Spirit.  He mentions weapons energized and efficient.  And ‘people’ are also in the sphere of evil.  We come against their faulty logic–their ‘arguements’.  We dismantle and pull down the evil they have revealed.

Join the War

Prayer for Today:

For All Those Who Battle With Mental Illness 


“God of Peace, give us the courage, patience, and love to walk beside our brothers and sisters who struggle with mental illness.  Comfort the afflicted, and embolden us to preach the truth about this often confusing illness.  Amen.”


I’ve been aware the last few months, that I’ve been needed, to be just one of the many voices for Christians who have a serious mental illness. 

My weapons/tools are the Word of God, his presence and our testimonies.  And of course prayer. There are so many in our Churches, and even more who are outside the Church with needs that are being passed by.  We are obligated to serve these for whom Christ died.  They need to be reconciled to their Savior.  We are the only ones who carry this ‘message of reconciliation. Ask the Lord to use you in this capacity.  To be his hands and feet.  To direct you to those he wants to touch. 

My own heart had to be softened, and my mind required an oil change.  It is not an easy thing, to work this out.  My casual Christian life demands a complete overhaul.  I know this for certain, I still need adjustments. 

Please, do pray for me on this particular issue.  I only want to please Him.  I’m very convinced that the shepherding that Jesus brings will bring a wholeness to the lives of those who know emptiness and depression far too intimately.



Sheep Who Stray Away

“It is well to be the sheep of God’s pasture, even if we have been wandering sheep. The straying sheep has an owner, and however far it may stray from the fold, it ceases not to belong to that owner.
I believe that God will yet bring back into the fold every one of His own sheep, and they shall all be saved. It is something to feel our wanderings, for if we feel ourselves to be lost, we shall certainly be saved; if we feel ourselves to have wandered, we shall certainly be brought back.”
–Charles Spurgeon
As mentally ill people we seem to be always straying.  We are usually very impulsive, and much more vulnerable to things that don’t seem to bother the “norms.”  But because our need is so much greater we find that grace is also multiplied.  We belong to His flock as much as the ‘wonderful’ sheep do.  We can rest (as well as we can) in Him and in His reputation as a ‘good’ Shepherd.

Upgrading to Joy

by Julie Anne Fidler, BB Weekly Contributor

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling ill – particularly with depression – I don’t want to do anything. Getting out of bed is a chore, tackling business or housework is excruciating, and when it’s all over we are twice as exhausted as we were when we started. Church seems out of the question. Reading the Bible seems impossible. Joy is a far-away star hurtling through the cosmos that you can’t grasp and reign in. Your world shuts down and you have no desire to grant access to anyone or anything. Sadness is a great isolator.

One of my favorite websites is (a writer’s best friend!) It defines joy as “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” The primary words here are “caused by.”  We don’t always feel joy. Heck, nobody does. But if you battle mental illness, that statement is especially true. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy and he uses our brain chemistry to do so. He’s so, so good at stealing our joy. But knowing that joy is caused by something should give us a lot of hope!

Maybe the Enemy can snatch our joy, but we can snatch it back. How do we do that? We decide to go against our feelings of despair and exhaustion and pursue it. Job’s suffering makes ours seem almost laughable by comparison and yet even he was able to find the cause of joy and run to it.

“let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;
   let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—
26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,
   they will see God’s face and shout for joy;
   he will restore them to full well-being.
27 And they will go to others and say,
   ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right,
   but I did not get what I deserved.”

-Job 33:25-27

Job, a man who lost everything and was abandoned by everyone he ever cared for, understood what unlocks joy, and that was God himself.  Jesus, of course, understood the same concept.

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” –John 16:24


During a very dark period in my life, I started visiting my current church with friends who were already members there. My church is a rather Pentecostal church (no snake-handling or anything crazy like that, I promise) and at the time I was visiting, I was a member of a much more subdued church. I was in so much emotional pain that I opted out of worship altogether. I sat in my seat and cried as others raised their hands and shouted praise and I wondered how they could be so happy when we live in a world that is so cold.

But a funny thing happened as I sat there in tears – the little layer of ice around my heart began to melt. I wasn’t on my feet dancing, but I felt warm peace seep into the frigid hopelessness. I had found a tiny bit of joy, CAUSED by getting out of bed, getting dressed, and sitting in that church pew.

Say the word “joy” and two different pictures come to mind. In the first image, I see someone jumping up and down, pumping their fist in the air, shouting praise to God. In the second image, I see someone quiet and reserved, eyes closed, a tiny, peaceful smile on their lips. I believe that both of these images apply to us. Sometimes joy is all-consuming and we can’t help but shout. Other times, joy is a quiet whisper of hope in our ear, a flicker of happiness that says “take heart, God loves you.”

And I am learning that if we have no joy, whether it’s because we’re suffering a rough bout with our disease or because life is just hard in general, it’s because we’re not close enough to the cause of joy. Often, our minds say there is no hope or joy in this world, so we have to make a decision – are we going to listen to our messed-up emotions, or live by fact, which translates into walking by faith? If we want joy, we have find it.

One of the associate pastors at my church once said something that stuck with me. He said, “I want to be under the spout where the stuff of Heaven comes out.” It may be a little bit cheesy but it’s true. Corporate worship, quiet time alone with God, reading the Word, private worship and surrounding ourselves with people who compliment and encourage our faith are all “the stuff of Heaven” that cause joy. We have to get to the spout.

If you feel the walls closing in around you today, deny your pain, get up, and go find joy.  The joy of the Lord is so powerful that a tiny drop is more than enough, I challenge you today to believe for an outpouring of it. Get up and get under that spout.


Julie Anne Fidler is a contributing writer for  She comes with a humble and understanding heart for those with a mental illness.  Her writing gift is valued greatly.  Look for her post weekly, on this blog.
She keeps a personal ministry blog at  Read more there.