When people think of different types of Tourette’s they worry that any kind muscle twitch or vocal noise is Tourette’s and they have it! However, this is not necessarily the case. So before talking about different types of Tourette’s let’s define what Tourette’s is. It is a combination of both vocal and motor tics that must be present for at least 1 year and never stop for longer than 2 months at a time. The vocal and motor tics may occur at the same time, but don’t have to in order to qualify for the diagnosis of Tourette’s. They also must be causing a significant impairment in the individual’s life.
Now that we know this is how it is defined we can see there is a LOT of room for different types of Tourette’s from one individual to the next in considering different types of Tourette’s. So if you have a throat clearing sound, coupled with brushing the right side of your hair back with your hand, a couple of times an hour every hour of every day for 2 months or more you probably have Tourette’s. BUT, how much does that really bother you? Do you really feel that you need treatment for this? Most people wouldn’t even think of that as Tourette’s, but it probably is. So in considering different types of Tourette’s we would call this mild.
On the other hand, which of the different types of Tourette’s would we think of if the same individual has a very loud throat clearing sound, coupled with brushing the right side of their hair back with their hand, every 15 seconds of every hour of every day for 2 months. Now in considering which of the different types of Tourette’s we would be thinking of a severe case that would need treatment. So keep in mind that even in two individuals with different types of Tourette’s there is a lot of variability between them.
To summarize in considering different types of Tourette’s they can range from mild to severe and not all will require treatment. This is because Tourette’s disorder has a fluctuating course and the severity of the symptoms often changes over time. So there may be periods of reduced tic frequency followed by increased tic activity.