The treatment of Tourette syndrome (TS) has not been clearly defined, even though it has been practiced for about 70 years in the US. The majority of people diagnosed with TS have not been prescribed any medication, nor are they ever hospitalized for their condition. Instead, they are given psychological treatment, counseling, and are sometimes taken to psychiatric hospitals due to their symptoms.
The earliest characterized symptoms of TS are unwanted, uncontrollable vocal sounds that occur repeatedly, either during speech or vocalizing and at times appear to be involuntary. These sounds are usually phrases or sentences that contain words such as “Stop”, “Cleep”, “Stop”, “Cleep”, “No”, “Stop”, “Cleep”, and “No”, which are repeated hundreds of times. Also, these sounds will usually begin at a lower pitch than the person might normally speak but will increase in volume as the person approaches to sleep, suggesting that the vocal cords may be affected.
In contrast to involuntary sounds, voluntary sounds do not seem to be harmful to a person with TS. However, the sounds can be very difficult to control, and just hearing them may make a person wakeful and incapable of performing tasks. In addition, voluntary sounds are very loud noises and can wake people up readily during sleep.
The sounds of TS may be the result of multiple causes, such as brain tumors, or a single cause, such as a head injury. Therefore, the medical philosophy important in TS patients must be the combination of findings from medical, psychological, and congenital sources. In general, the doctor must consider if there are any other disorders that could be causing the sounds, such as a defect in a speech that causes the sounds to be heard. If there is no speech disorder, the doctor must consider if there is a physical problem. If there is no physical problem, but the patient has no trouble talking, the doctor must consider if the person has a language barrier.
Treatment of Tourette Syndrome – What Doctor Say?
The doctor also needs to be aware of any problems the person might have with swallowing because these problems can cause the sounds to not be heard. The doctor should ask the patient how he or she deals with the sounds that are heard, and determine if there are any activities (including sports) or medications that aggravate these situations. Some people appear to have a combination of problems, where they sometimes struggle with both problems at once, but other times they struggle with one problem and sometimes hear just fine. The doctor will determine the likely cause of the problem by considering all aspects.
The doctor may recommend physical measures to help the patient, such as speech therapy and swallowing exercises. If there is a speech difficulty, the doctor should evaluate it before prescribing support for the patient’s speech. If there is a swallowing difficulty, the doctor should first evaluate the child for food allergies, and for any other medical problems.
The doctor should offer any type of therapy necessary to help the patient with TS. The type of therapy will depend on the type of syndrome the patient has. If the patient has stopped talking, if the patient is very edgy or if the patient is very drowsy, if the patient has difficulty interpreting sounds or words, or if the patient has difficulty swallowing, the therapist should discuss these findings with the patient. If the patient is able to eat like normal and do so without problems, the therapist should consider if there are any ongoing challenges that the individual must deal with.
A therapist should be able to determine with certainty whether there is food allergies, a swallowing challenge, or some other type of physical problem. An experienced therapist can best determine how to handle the situation, but having knowledge of the warning signs is paramount in providing the best care for the patient.