Tourette's Syndrome & Tic Disorders

Tourette's syndrome treatment Sydney

About Tourette's & Tic Disorders

Tourette Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by persistent, chronic and involuntary tics. These tics manifest as either motor or phonic (vocalisations) and can range from simple tics such as blinking, sniffing and head twitching to more complex such as repetitive swearing, spinning around and jumping. The cause of Tourette’s is unknown but it is likely that both hereditary and nongenetic factors contribute to its development.

The onset of Tourette Syndrome is usually in childhood between the ages of 2 and 21 years[1]. The disorder affects more males than females with a ratio of approximately 3 males to every 1 female diagnosed[2]. Tourette’s is a highly individualistic disorder with differing levels of severity, frequency and impairment. Tourette’s is also highly comorbid with other disorders. This means that people diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome will usually present for another disorder such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Cognitive issues associated with Tourette’s Disorder

Whilst the exact cause of Tourette Syndrome is unknown, it is believed that the presence of tics is associated with abnormalities in the brain. In particular, it is suggested there is a distribution in the circuits which link the basal ganglia (the site which controls voluntary motor movements, eye movements and emotion) to the frontal cortex[3].

Individuals with Tourette Syndrome display impaired performance in cognitive tasks in terms of memory, attention, reading and writing[4]. These impairments are often more severe in individuals diagnosed with comorbid ADHD whom also display less cognitive flexibility. It is estimated that 70% of patients with Tourette Syndrome exhibit ADHD type behaviours and as such, Tourette Syndrome can be a debilitating diagnosis for many people[5].

Treatment for Tourette's & Tic Disorder

At HighQ we offer a variety of treatments for Tourette's and Tic disorders, including, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Habit Reversal Therapy, and neurofeedback.




[1]Robertson M, Eapen V, & Cavanna, A (2009) The international prevalence, epidemiology, and clinical phenomenology of Tourette syndrome: a cross-cultural perspective.


[2]Plesson, K (2013) Tic disorders and Tourette’s syndrome


[3]Singer, H & Minzer, K (2003) Neurobiology of Tourette’s syndrome: concepts of neuroanatomic localization and neurochemical abnormalities


[4]Aminova, D (2016) Cognitive impairments in children with tic disorders and Tourette syndrome


[5]Freeman RD, Fast DK, Burd L, Kerbeshian J, Robertson MM, Sandor P. An international perspective on Tourette syndrome: selected findings from 3, 500 individuals in 22 countries.