Tourette's Syndrome

Hello and welcome! This carrd contains info all about Tourette's Syndrome, as well as common questions you may have about the condition. It is actively being updated. If there's anything worth adding or something that needs correcting, feel free to DM me on Twitter @MrJungHobi!

What is Tourette's?

Tourette's Syndrome is a chronic neurological disorder affecting the the nervous system in which the afflicted performs involuntary and uncontrollable actions or vocal outbursts known as tics. Like many disorders, Tourette's is a spectrum. One may have a mild, moderate, or severe case, and fluctuation occurs even within individual cases. The severity of a person's tics waxes and wanes over periods of hours, days, weeks, and even months. They may go though periods where tics are more severe, or periods where they barely tic, if at all.

Common comorbidities (other conditions also found in people with tourette's) include ADHD, autism, OCD, etc. ADHD is most common by far, with 50%-80% of tourettic individuals being afflicted.

A Tourette's diagnosis requires that the patient has/has had at least two motor tics and one vocal tic (see Tics for more info) that have persisted for longer than a year, and appeared before the age of 18.



Tics are involuntary movements and vocalizations thought to be caused by neurotransmitter dysfunction in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia. The function of the basal ganglia is to process signals sent from the cerebral cortex for voluntary actions (walking, grabbing, speaking, etc.) before they're performed by the body. In tourettic individuals, these dysfunctional neurotransmitters misfire and send messages to the nervous system, telling the body to perform a certain movement despite not receiving the signal to perform any voluntary action.


Many would describe ticcing as an unpleasant, uncomfortable experience, while many others pay it little mind. It's often likened to having someone else in your body, sporadically taking control and performing actions on your behalf, or even that your nervous system is 'sneezing.'

Most people feel something known as a premonitory urge immediately before a tic, giving a brief warning of what's to come. The sensation of a premonitory urge is difficult to describe as it's a feeling all of it's own. The physical sensation can sometimes be described as the feeling you get in your gut at the height of a drop on a roller coaster, but centralized to the site of the tic, whereas the involuntary situation is akin to holding one's eyes open until they're eventually forced to blink against their will. These are, however, rough approximations and do not accurately describe the exact sensation of a premonitory urge.


Tics come in many varieties! Theyre separated into 'motor' and 'vocal' tics, and they both have simple and complex presentations:

Simple Motor: These include tics involving simple movements or requiring few muscle groups to perform. May include winking, nose scrunching, head twiching, etc.)
Complex Motor: These include more complicated movements and may even seem intentional due to their heightened complexity. Examples include facial expressions, clapping, snapping, hand gestures, etc.)
Simple Vocal: These include simple sounds, such as coughing, grunting, and short whistles.
Complex Vocal: These include more complicated vocalizations such as humming a tune or saying entire phrases/sentences.
Tics can even be broken down into more specific categories meant to describe characteristics of the tics. Not everyone experiences every kind of tic. Commonly mentioned types include (but are by no means limited to):

Coprolalia: Vulgar vocalizations, to include curse words, generally inappropriate phrases, and slurs (see more in FAQ).
Echolalia: Tics in which the afflicted will copy or repeat the words of another speaker
Palilalia: The repitition of one's own word(s), usually at the end of a sentence.
Some even experience a sort of "preventative tic" in which instead of being forced to perform an action, they're entirely unable. This can include being unable to hand someone an object, unable to swallow food or drinks, or being unable to walk or stand.

Remember, tics are very diverse and vary greatly from person to person, so just because one person has a certain tic, doesn't mean everyone will.


Tic attacks are a sudden surge of repetitive, often violent tics. Visually, they’re often compared to a seizure.

Attacks are usually disabling to the individual and they won't be able to perform tasks. They can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, and after the episode, the individual will likely be physically exhausted and experiencing substantial muscle pain. They may require assistance in severe instances.

Attacks can be random, but are often caused by suppressing tics for extended periods of time. This is one of the many reasons people with Tourette's shouldn't be pressured to suppress or mask.


Tics can be easily triggered. They're often triggered or made worse by talking about them, which is why a tourettic individual often appears to tic more when explaining/educating/speaking on their condition.

Another common trigger is seeing another person tic. If multiple people are together, their tics will likely trigger and even build off one another. In a similar vein, non-tourettic people can also trigger a person's tics by mocking or performing the action around them.

Triggers can even come in the form of foods and drinks, like caffeine, sugar, certain dyes, etc.


Many people wonder how people with Tourette's perform actions requiring precision and control or keeping still, such as applying makeup, drawing, singing, or getting tattoos. In most cases, activities requiring a certain level of focus or active involvement can lessen or stop tics entirely. In situations such as tattoos or haircuts, bringing something to focus on and letting the artist/hairdresser know is the best way of minimizing error or injury.


If you're a non-tourettic individual, please keep the following in mind:
Please don't refer to tics as 'annoying,' 'loud,' or 'embarrassing.' It can't be helped and making someone feel bad for it will only hurt them.Please note that, like with other conditions, people with tourette's often mask and suppress tics for the comfort of neurotypicals around them and to conform to social expectations. However, they are by no means responsible for either and are not obligated to mask in social situations. Masking and suppressing tics often has pretty major consequences, and although some shoulder them as responsibility, others choose not to. It is entirely up to them and them alone.If someone has a tic that may look uncomfortable or painful, please don't intervene unless instructed to or the individual is bringing genuine harm to themselves and are, for one reason or another, unable to ask for assistance.If someone were to suffer a tic attack and requests help, please try to assist them with what they require. If they go non-verbal and are unable to specify, it's usually best to guide them away from crowded spaces and, if available, offer them a pillow or stuffed animal. Many find that they help with stimming and self harm tics.In the instance of a particularly severe tic attack, do not restrain them. Similar to a seizure, move objects and furniture out of the way so they don't harm themselves. Ask to stay with the person to be sure they don't hurt themselves, but be sure to protect yourself as well by not being within leg/arms reach. During attacks, people often times go non-verbal or partially verbal, so be aware of limitations. After an attack, the person may be exhausted and weak, and may require assistance and rest to recover.And lastly, treat your friend as you'd treat anyone else! Their condition does nothing to change who they are as a person and they'd surely appreciate it!


Can tics be controlled/stopped?No. Many people can suppress tics for short periods, but they will come out on their own eventually. Suppressing tics will only make them much worse once they do manifest, and suppressing for extended periods of time can lead to tic attacks.

Do people with Tourette's have slur passes?No. Slur passes don't exist and they can only be reclaimed by the demographic they target. However, we do ask for grace and understanding in the instance that a slur does become a tic (coprolalia), as it is entirely involuntary and no harm is meant.

Is Tourette's just cursing?Nope. Thanks to mainstream media and the disorder being viewed as a punchline, the stereotype of tourette's being entirely vulgar is often seen as truth. In reality, coprolalia (vulgar vocal tics) only affects about 10% of people.

Does ticcing hurt?Not particularly, though it's extremely uncomfortable for many. Although the action of ticcing itself isn't painful, many tics involve inflicting pain or injury on oneself through a variety of measures. They often do, however, cause headaches and muscle soreness.
I think I may be experiencing tics. Do I have Tourette's?Not necessarily! There are a variety of other tic disorders, provisional and chronic, that may be a better match depending on your age, whether they're motor or vocal, etc. Tics can also be attributed to other neurodivergent conditions like ADHD and autism, mental illnesses like anxiety, or even stress.
Can it be cured?Theres is no cure for Tourette's, but treatments and medications can help in more severe cases.
Should I TW/CW content with tics?Yes please! Many assume this would be offensive by implying that tics are something to be hidden or may disturb neurotypicals, but these are actually used to help us. Seeing tics can trigger our own, and can even be contagious.