Individuals with Tourette's experience tics, which are body movements or sounds that occur intermittently and unpredictably. A person with Tourette's may exhibit normal behavior the vast majority of the time. However, the onset of tics is unpredictable and the quantity varies. Some days a person with Tourette's may experience a great number of tics while the next day, they may experience only a few.
There are two types of tics – motor and vocal. Eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, facial grimacing, and head jerking are motor tics. Examples of vocal tics would include throat clearing, sniffing, tongue clicking, yelping, and other noises.
Two of the most common tics for persons with Tourete's are eye blinking and throat clearing. Other tics people with Tourette's experience include facial movements, sniffing, grunting, coughing, humming, and shoulder shrugging. Compulsions, obsessions, impulsivity, inattention, and mood variability can also be characteristics of the disorder.
There are two categories of tics – simple and complex. Example of more complex motor tics would be jumping, smelling, touching other people or things, twirling about, or more rarely self–injurious actions such as biting oneself or hitting one's own head. More complex vocal tics are uttering words or phrases out of context or using socially unacceptable words in public.
The tics can arrive suddenly and vary in type. However, the tics associated with Tourette's are temporarily suppressible, in contrast to the abnormal movements seen in other movement disorders. This is evident in the fact that older children and adults are much better able to control their tics than younger children.
Coprolalia, which is the spontaneous utterance of obscene words or other objectionable phrases, is the most well known symptom of Tourette's. It is often associated with Tourette's as it is frequently used in portraying people with the disorder in movies, television, and other forms of media. Other symptoms of Tourette's include echolalia, which is the repeating the words of other people, and palilalia, which is repeating one's own words.
Tourette's symptoms can become evident in children as early as five years of age. The onset of tics can occur up until the age of eighteen. Between the ages of nine and thirteen is when people with Tourette's typically exhibit their worst symptoms.