Let’s Talk Tourette Syndrome

By Valerie Rice | January 18, 2020

I bet most people instantly thought about someone streaming profanity uncontrollably. Yeah, that’s super funny, thanks entertainment media, but that just isn’t it. Yes, vocalizations are part of it but you have it all wrong. Most of us know this already and still are not sure what we are actually looking for. I’m going  to put a video here of a compilation from one of my favorite shows that is not only socially abrasive and irreverent, but also highlights the stupidity and irony of how we have been taught to think and the bias we are shown.


Yes, South Park is both funny and on point.Tourette Syndrome is a tic disorder. This neurological condition is nothing to laugh at though. Tics are involuntary movements or sounds that are repetitive and appear first in childhood. For Tourette Syndrome, two motor tics and at least one vocal tic must present itself in order for diagnosis. Additionally, these tics must be present for a year or longer. Check out this link for more specific diagnostic criteria. Oh right, I mentioned vocal tics. Well, there is some truth to the swearing. Most of the time a vocal tic is just a sound, like a click or a grunt, or sniffing. But somewhere between 10 and 15% of these are inappropriate words and this condition is called coprolalia and has led to people with this disorder being mocked and immortalized in the media. Remember what we call that? Stigmatization.


This is my favorite part, because this is where I tell you that treatment is person specific. Yep. It all depends. Some people receive no treatment at all because the tics do not interfere with their ability to function. Other people have co-occurring disorders like OCD, click here for a review, and treating these conditions minimizes the tics. There is also the option of medication, which may or may  not be for you, depending on the severity and type of tic you experience. We also have the ever popular CBT but with a twist, it specializes in involuntary behavior and is known as CBIT. It is designed for habit reversal.


Okay, the media has lied to us again. No big surprise, there is nothing particularly hilarious or horrifying about real life disorders. I hope we have cleared a few things up today. I also hope you learned something because I know I did. I did! I didn’t know the actual term for uncontrolled profanity, I can’t remember EVERYTHING! Luckily I remember how to find the info I need and pass it on, so you’re welcome. Until next time, Be Well!

Published by vrice2010

A mother, an author, a nerd. After many years working in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities, graduating from the University of Phoenix, and pouring my talents into my local community, I decided to spread my wings and reach a wider audience.

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