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Understanding Tourette’s: What is it and how does it affect people? | UK News

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Lewis Capaldi has announced he’ll be taking a break from touring due to the impact Tourette’s syndrome is having on him.

The Glasgow-born singer revealed his condition last year in an Instagram live and said “it’s not a big a deal” but that some days are “more painful than others”.

Capaldi also recently performed at Glastonbury Festival and experienced some difficulty during his performance.

The 26-year-old star repeatedly apologised after losing his voice and told fans he planned to take some more time off.

Read more:
Lewis Capaldi announces break after emotional Glastonbury set
Capaldi cancels all shows until Glastonbury due to health issues

He has since made the difficult decision to pause his tour “for the foreseeable future”, saying he is “incredibly sorry” but needs “to feel well to perform at the standard you all deserve”.

Here’s everything you need to know about the condition.

What is Tourette’s syndrome and what are the symptoms?

According to the NHS, Tourette’s syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements – these are known as tics.

The condition usually develops during childhood, but tics and other symptoms usually improve after a few years.

Tics (twitching) is the main symptom, but some people with the condition can also have a combination of vocal and physical tics.

Some of the physical tics include:

• Blinking
• Eye rolling
• Grimacing
• Shoulder Shrugging
• Jerking movements of the head or limbs
• Jumping
• Twirling
• Touching objects and other people

Vocal tics include:

• Grunting
• Whistling
• Coughing
• Tongue clicking
• Animal sounds
• Saying random words and phrases
• Repeating a sound, word or phrase
• Swearing

According to the NHS, swearing is rare and only affects about one in 10 people with the condition.

Some people with Tourette’s syndrome may also experience a strong urge before a tic – the NHS has said this feeling has been compared to “the feeling you get before needing to itch or sneeze”.

This is known as premonitory sensations and includes symptoms of a burning feeling in the eyes before blinking, a dry or sore throat, and an itchy joint or muscle.

Can Tourette’s be treated?

There is currently no cure for the condition, but treatments may be recommended to help control the tics.

These treatments involve behavioural therapy and medication.

However, the NHS has said medication for Tourette’s can have side effects and will not work for everyone.

Medication is only ever recommended if the case is severe or affects day-to-day activities.

Behavioural therapy is often provided as a course of treatment and has been shown to reduce tics.

There are two types of behavioural therapy treatments – these include:

• Habit reversal training – this is when the therapist or trained psychologists help their patient work out the feeling which triggers the tics.

Once the health professional helps the patient locate their trigger points, the next stage is to find an alternative way to relieve the urge to tic.

• The second behavioural theory is exposure with response prevention (ERP) – this method trains the patient to have better control over their urge to tic.

Techniques are often used to recreate the urge to tic in order to train the patient to tolerate the feeling without doing the tic.

What causes this condition?

The exact cause of the syndrome is not yet known, but some of the risk factors associated with it include a family history of the condition.

It is thought to be linked to a part of the brain that helps regulate the body’s movements, and men are also more likely to be affected than women.

Tourettes Action, a support and research charity, says there are over 300,000 children and adults in the UK currently living with the condition.



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