The Inrerview (FAQ about TS).

The Interview (FAQ about TS).

By Bill Baxter, DTM.


This was an e-mail interview conducted by my Cousin Julie's Son, Moss Townsend. This interview was for a class project/oral presentation. My answers are written in italics.


1)  When were you first diagnosed with TS?

I was not dianosed with TS until 1995 at age 40.

2)  Was it something you were born with?

Tourette Syndrome is a genetic disorder in the Central Nervous System, which is usually inherited from birth.

3)  Why did it take so long to diagnose it and what happened in your life before you were given the      diagnosis of TS?

Tourette Syndrome has come into public awareness in the last 75 years or so. In the Sixties and Seventies, when I was a child and a teenager, even Neurologists could not diagnose the disorder. The best diagnosis I received as a child was "Chemical dysfunction in the back of the brain."

4)  I read about tics as either simple or complex.  Do you have apparent tic's or are you able to      control them?

There are two types of tics: Motor and Vocal. I have both from time to time. These are brought on by tension and stress. There is medication which can limit tension and stress. You contol the tension and stress, you can minimize the tics. Tics become less and less a problem with age. The worst time is during childhood and adolescence.

5)  Are the tic's kind of like a bad habit like biting your nails where you just do them and you don't even realize it?

At first you don't realize that you are displaying tics, but once you do, they can be brought under control.

6)  If you have to focus to control your tics is it hard to then focus on other stuff?

One with Tourette Syndrome needs to focus on stuff that does not bring on tension and stress, which in turn, activates the tics. If one with TS focuses on things that do bring on tension, followed by the tics, then it can be very difficult to focus on constructive things like school work, a job, or even family responsibilities.

7)  Were your signs of having TS more severe when you were younger than they are now?

Tics and Obsessive Rituals (i.e: washing your hands several times before being satisfied that they are clean and sanitary) were a lot more prevalent in my youth then they are now.

8)  Have all signs of TS gone away completely or will they as you get older?

They never go away completely, but my experience has told me that they do decrease more and more with age. But unless they come up with a cure, Tourette's is always enough of a problem, that you are set apart as different. I will be fifty years old in October of this year, and I have never been married, or even had an exclusive relationship with a woman. It is still noticeable.

9)  Do you have to take medication?  I heard that most people with TS do not use medication.

I take "Clonidine" which controls stress and tension, and Flouxetine (a type of Prozac) which controls OCB (Obsessive Compulsive Behavior) which is also a major symptom of TS. These two medications work good for me, but they don't work very well for others with TS. Each case involving patients with TS, is very unique. Other people with TS can take medications which can be good for them, but poison to me.

10)  What would you like my class to know most in my oral presentation about TS?

I would like them to know all the information which you have requested. You may want to list all the major symptoms and side effects of Tourettes:

1) Motor and Vocal Tics.-- Sudden outbursts of highly abnormal motor and vocal behavior. a lot of times the vocal tics can be obscene.

2) OCB/Obsessive Rituals.-- Washing your hands several times before bein satisfied that they are clean and sanitary, or checking the door several times before being satisfied that it is locked.

3) ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)-- Hyperactive behavior, limited focus and attention span, and limited reading comprehension.

4) These symptoms impair ones learning, performance on the job, and social development.

One thing young people should be aware of, especially during childhood and teenage years, is that they must never, under any circumstances, make fun of students with TS, or harass, or bully them in any way. As for Teachers, and other faculty members, they should try to learn as much as they can abot their students with this illness, and discipline the students who harass and make fun of the students with TS, by detention, or suspension. This sort of thing can be very damaging to young people with Tourette Syndrome.

If you want to know more about Tourette Syndrome,

You can get more information from TSA:

Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
42-40 Bell Blvd. Suite 205.
Bayside, NY. 11361-2820.

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