"So you think you may have Tourettes..."
February 28, 2010 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How does one go about being diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome?

So in my short 21 years of life, I've experienced enough instances and tics to safely assume that I just may have Tourettes Syndrome (I have personally ruled out OCD, but I guess that is for a professional to decide!).
It doesn't interfere negatively with my life - in fact outside of family and previous boyfriends asking why I repeat certain movements/motions while laying in bed, typing etc, I haven't experienced many other people commenting on it. However it's prevelent enough that I'd like to be able to have an official 'diagnosis' and a bit more information with what is going on.

My question is how does one actually go about being diagnosed/treated etc for Tourettes? Do I just go to my regular GP doctor and they refer me onto a specialist (nuerosurgeon?)? Or do I track down this department in my closest hospital and go from there?
FWIW I don't have private health insurance (I live in Melbourne, Australia and so it isn't a big issue, and from what I can see our health insurance companies don't cover this sort of thing anyway).

Any help is much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Do I just go to my regular GP doctor and they refer me onto a specialist (nuerosurgeon?)?

As far as I know, yes, this is what you do.
posted by Jimbob at 8:46 PM on February 28, 2010

There is a Tourette Association of Victoria. Maybe contact them and ask what is the best way to get a diagnosis.
posted by Kerasia at 9:08 PM on February 28, 2010

In the US, the diagnostic criteria are the presence of persistent motor and vocal tics. I would ask around for a neurologist or psychiatrist that specializes in Tourettes. Tracking down a physician of this sort should be very easy in a city as large as Melbourne. Your case, like most cases, sounds rather mild. Anyone who is wondering whether or not they have TS likely has a mild case. You may find, as I did, that the treatments have side-effects that are worse than the disorder, and that drugs like risperidone and aripiprazole are serious business for people with serious problems. I could never tolerate the weight gain, loss of libido, and drowsiness that accompanied the treatments. YMMV.
posted by Crotalus at 9:24 PM on February 28, 2010

Your GP will, most likely, refer you to a neurologist for assessment and treatment.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:47 PM on February 28, 2010

(Neurologist ≠ neurosurgeon, FWIW. You'd want a neurologist for diagnosis.)
posted by hattifattener at 10:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I went to my GP who sent me to a neurologist for the official diagnosis. Like Crotalus said, the treatments will probably have side effects worse than your symptoms, and you will be better off just living with it. That's the case with mine, but it's nice to have that official diagnosis anyway.

Crotalus is also right about motor and vocal tics. I think at least one vocal tic at some point in your life is required for diagnosis with TS. Feel free to mail me if you have any questions!
posted by thejanna at 5:38 AM on March 1, 2010

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