What are the risk factors and complications of Tourette syndrome?
Risk factors of Tourette’s
There are two main risk factors for Tourette’s, these being:
- Gender – Four times more males are diagnosed with Tourette syndrome than females.
- Family history (genes) – Tic disorders and Tourette’s have been found to run in families. Having someone in the family with the condition may increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. However, the symptoms differ between each person.
Complications of Tourette’s
Someone with Tourette’s often lives a healthy and active life. However, there are certain issues with the condition that involve social and behavioural challenges that have been known to harm the self-image and social life of an affected individual.
Further complications come into play regarding common co-occurring conditions with Tourette’s. These conditions consist of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Some of these may exist before the condition develops and create further impairment regarding the tics of Tourette’s. In other cases, the condition may only develop after the patient has been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.
Co-occurring conditions can include:
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) – Symptoms of this condition typically include the patient feeling restless, being hyperactive, impulsive and experiencing difficulty in concentrating on one thing at a time.
- OCD/OCB (obsessive-compulsive disorder/behaviours) – Unwanted, repetitive and intrusive thoughts and behaviours are characteristics of OCD. There are several types of obsessive urges or thoughts, these can include the patient having to do things ‘just right’ or having aggressive or even sexual thoughts that may appear out of the patient’s control. These thoughts have been known to lead to compulsions in having to do something they may not want to do. Or performing something in a certain way. The severity of these compulsions often varies from one patient to another. An example may be that they feel the excessive need to fold their clothes or arrange their cupboard in a certain way, a more severe compulsion may involve the patient feeling as though they have to commit a crime.
- Learning difficulties – Having issues with writing (dysgraphia), reading, mathematics and/or processing information that has no relation to the patient’s general intelligence.
- Behavioural issues – Rage, aggression, committing socially inappropriate acts (disinhibition) or expressing oppositional defiance.
- Anxiety – Excessively worrying, feeling fearful and experiencing separation anxiety.
- Mood issues – Experiencing periods of mood elevation or depression that result in the person’s behaviour or functioning being impaired. Mood issues are normally vastly different to the person’s normal behaviour.
- Issues with social functioning and social skills – Having trouble with developing social skills and maintaining relationships with friends and family, or acting in an inappropriate manner.
- Sleeping issues – Having trouble staying or falling asleep, sleepwalking or talking and bedwetting.