Tourette's Syndrome or Tourette's, as it is sometimes simply called, is a central nervous system disorder characterized by involuntary verbal and physical behavior patterns called "tics". The condition is genetic. In mild forms the individual is usually able to suppress tics of speech or behavior. Stronger involuntary manifestations of the condition can be treated by various proven methods of either reducing the intensity and occurrence of the tics or interfering with the signals in the central nervous system that generate them.
There are two types of tics: Motor tics and Vocal tics.
Motor tics involve movement. They include:
- Arm or head jerking
- Making a face
- Mouth twitching
- Shoulder shrugging
Before a motor tic, the subject may get a sensation that can feel like a tingle or tension. The movement makes the sensation go away. Subjects might be able to hold their tics back for a little while, but they probably can't stop them from happening.
Vocal tics include:
- Barking or yelping
- Clearing your throat
- Repeating what someone else says
Simple and complex tics
Tics can be simple or complex.
A simple tic affects one or just a few parts of the body, like blinking the eyes or making a face.
A complex tic involves many parts of the body or saying words. Jumping and swearing are examples.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Doctors aren’t sure why, but about half of people with Tourette's also have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They may have trouble paying attention, sitting still, and finishing tasks.
Anxiety, learning disabilities, OCD
Tourette's can also cause problems with:
- Learning disabilities such as dyslexia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — thoughts and behaviors they can't control, like washing their hands over and over again
Tourette's and demonic possession
Tourette's has unfortunately often been confused with manifestations of demon possession. The possibility of demonic possession or oppression is almost non-existent, and should be the last suspicion. If anyone is observed experiencing any conditions suggestive of possession, experienced pastoral care counsellors, mental health and medical professionals, and experts in paranormal phenomena and research, all strongly advise immediately contacting a physician for further evaluation. A medical consultation should always be the first step. Victims falsely accused of being demonically possessed have been attacked by self-styled amateur "exorcists" and physically restrained, verbally humiliated, beaten, tortured, cut and mutilated, maimed (amputations), sharp objects forced into their mouths, ears, noses, genital areas, causing profuse bleeding, even permanent injury, sometimes being imprisoned for hours, days, weeks and months, in bizarre and savagely vicious rituals their tormenters call "exorcisms" to drive out evil spirits, demons, and the Devil, Satan, often ending in death.
Authentic religious exorcists are individuals of mature years, proven to be of good character and stable moral and social reputation, sensible and prudent, mentally and emotionally balanced, prayerfully devout and reverent, who are unassuming and humble in a very natural manner that is neither forced or apologetic. They have been carefully discerned and chosen to be extensively trained, certified, and, after careful examination, are finally authorized by the competent, well-established, appropriately recognized and respected religious authority. A true exorcism is performed only after a reasonable period of careful investigation and profound spiritual discernment, and only if permission is granted by the proper superior representative of the religious authority after conducting a separate examination and review of the case, and only when individuals involved from the beginning have been interviewed and their testimonies examined. Legitimate exorcists do not inflict injury or physical torture on the possessed individual to drive out evil presences.
- WebMD - Tourette's Syndrome (webmd.com)
- Demonic Possession - Tourette Syndrome (weebly.com) This site includes the following menu of topics relating to discernment of disorders often mistaken for demonic possession: