Myths about Tourette's disorder

There are many myths about Tourette's disorder (TD).

Myths about Tourette's disorder
Myth Truth

"Everyone who has Tourette's disorder uses obscene words and gestures."

Most people who have the condition do not have this symptom.

"People who have Tourette's disorder often 'blow up' and get very angry."

People who have Tourette's disorder are no more likely to blow up than other people. But some people with TD who also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or an anxiety disorder may be more likely than others to have strong emotional reactions to stress.

"Adults who have Tourette's disorder drink or have problems with substance abuse."

Like many adults, people who have Tourette's disorder may drink or use drugs. But this type of behavior is not a cause or a direct effect of the condition.

"People who have Tourette's disorder can control their tics if they really want to."

Some people who have Tourette's disorder are able to control their tics for short periods of time, but eventually they need to allow the tics to occur.

"People who have Tourette's disorder live restricted lives."

Most people who have Tourette's disorder live normal lives.

"Intelligence is affected in people who have Tourette's disorder."

Tourette's disorder does not lower a person's intelligence.

Last Updated: September 2, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

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