Tourette's disorder, also referred to as Tourette's syndrome, is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and uncontrollable tics. A tic is a sudden, rapid, recurrent, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization.
Symptoms typically emerge between 4 and 6 years old and can reach their peak between 10 and 12 years old. Around three of every 1,000 people in the United States have Tourette's disorder, and males are affected 2 to 4 times more often than females.
Some people with Tourette's also experience obsessive-compulsive behavior (an intense need to repeatedly perform acts, such as hand washing or checking that a door is locked); attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (difficulty concentrating and staying on task); learning disabilities (difficulties with reading, writing, and arithmetic); and sleep disorders (frequent awakenings or talking in one's sleep).
Generally, Tourette's disorder is diagnosed by obtaining a description of the tics and evaluating family history. Neuroimaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), and electroencephalogram (EEG) scans, or certain blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions that might be confused with Tourette's. However, Tourette's disorder is a clinical diagnosis. There are no blood tests or other laboratory tests that definitively diagnose the disorder.