Facts & Fictions in Mental Health: What Do We Know about Tourette's?; July/August 2009; Scientific American Mind; by Scott O. Lilienfeld; Hal Arkowitz; 2 Page(s)
On May 22, 2001, radio talk show personality Laura Schlessinger, better known as Dr. Laura, received a call from a woman who was distressed by her sister's decision to exclude their nephew from an upcoming family wedding. When the caller mentioned that the boy suffered from Tourette's disorder (also sometimes called Tourette syndrome), Dr. Laura berated her for even thinking that it might be appropriate to invite a child who would "scream out vulgarities in the middle of the wedding." As we'll soon explain, Dr. Laura's comments embody just one of several common myths regarding Tourette's.
Tourette's disorder is the eponymous name for the condition first formally described in 1885 by French neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who dubbed it maladie des tics ("sickness of tics"). According to the current edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual, Tourette's disorder is marked by a history of both motor (movement) tics and phonic (sound) tics.