Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by tics, or sudden, purposeless and rapid movements or vocalizations, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Such tics are recurrent, involuntary and non-rhythmic, with the same tics occurring each time. The disorder was originally named for French neurologist Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described the condition in 1885, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
While those with Tourette syndrome often can suppress tics by focusing on them, the disorder also can be treated with medication, relaxation techniques and therapy. Although involuntary cursing is commonly thought to be a key trait of the disorder, only a minority of those with Tourette syndrome exhibits this symptom. Terminology for the disorder is varied. It is interchangeably referred to as Tourette syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome and Tourette’s disorder. However, prominent mental health organizations such as NINDS, the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Tourette Syndrome Association refer to it as Tourette syndrome. Use Tourette syndrome, with no possessive or capitalization of syndrome. Refer to someone as having Tourette syndrome only if the information is relevant to the story and if the person has been formally diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. Use people-first language, stating that someone is a person with Tourette syndrome or a person diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. Avoid the acronym TS as it is not widely known.
[For more information about Tourette syndrome see the Tourette Syndrome Association website, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Tourette’s Syndrome Fact Sheet or the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet.]