Why do people use bad words

Tourette syndrome

Anyone with Tourette's syndrome must learn to live with the tics. For many of those affected, visiting a self-help group is helpful. Here they can exchange information, make friends and encourage each other.

For others, however, such an exchange can be harmful: They take over the tics of other Tourette sufferers and it often takes weeks for these foreign tics to disappear again.

Causes and methods of treatment

To date, the causes of Tourette's syndrome have not been clarified. What is certain, however, is that Tourette patients have a problem with their brains. The function of the basal ganglia is out of whack.

The basal ganglia are nerve cells in the endbrain that are responsible for fine-tuning body movements. These nerve cells work particularly briskly in Tourette patients and send out a particularly large number of signals. These signals discharge - in the tics.

A cure for Tourette's syndrome is still not possible. However, there are a number of medications that can reduce the frequency and severity of tics. This includes tiapride, but also pimozide, risperidone and haloperidol.

All of these drugs have side effects. And that's exactly why doctors need to dose them carefully. "As much as necessary, as little as possible" is the motto.

60 percent of Tourette patients are at least temporarily dependent on medication. But there are other treatments that can help relieve tics. For example relaxation exercises and anti-stress training. Those who have less stress also have fewer tics. This wisdom probably applies not only to Tourette patients.

Witty Ticcy Ray - Happy with Tourette Syndrome

Not every Tourette patient feels affected by their tics. Like the musician Witty Ticcy Ray. Witty Ticcy Ray is a fun-loving person, a celebrated drummer, and he has Tourette's syndrome.

He was 24 years old when he visited the New York neurologist Oliver Sacks in his practice in the 1980s. Sacks prescribes the drug haloperidol for Witty Ticcy Ray - and it actually works.

But the substance not only frees Witty Ticcy Ray from the tics. At the same time, the young man loses his quick reaction time with table tennis and his ingenuity on drums.

And that's not all. Because Witty Ticcy Ray has a strange hobby: they are magically drawn to revolving doors. And he loves to jump into the walking door at the last second, only to leave it again just as quickly. But exactly this fun becomes his undoing after taking the drug - and ends with several broken bones.

"Let's assume you could get the tics off completely," said Witty Ticcy Ray to his doctor after this experience. "What would be left then? I am made of tics. Nothing would be left."

This encounter made a great impression on the neurologist Oliver Sacks. And that's exactly why he wrote it down in 1985 in his bestselling book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat".

(First published: 2007. Last update: 05/05/2021)