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Gilles de la Tourette syndrome as a paradigmatic neuropsychiatric disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2018

Andrea E. Cavanna*
Department of Neuropsychiatry, BSMHFT and University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology and University College London, London, UK School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston Brain Centre, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
*Address for correspondence: Prof. Andrea E. Cavanna, MD, PhD, FRCP, FANPA, Department of Neuropsychiatry, The National Centre for Mental Health, 25 Vincent Drive, Birmingham B15 2FG, United Kingdom. (Email:


Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a chronic and complex tic disorder accompanied by specific behavioral problems in the majority of patients. With its multifaceted interplay between motion and emotion, this condition is a paradigmatic example of the science and art of clinical neuropsychiatry. This review article encompasses the clinical phenomenology of motor and vocal tics and associated sensory experiences (premonitory urges), as well as the behavioral spectrum of the most common comorbidities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder, affective symptoms, and impulsivity. Knowledge of the contributions of both tics and behavioral problems to patients’ health-related quality of life across the lifespan should assist treating clinicians in formulating a targeted management plan. Although the exact pathophysiology of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome remains elusive, research into therapeutic interventions has expanded the range of available interventions across multiple domains. A thorough understanding of the neurology and psychiatry of this condition is of key importance to meet the needs of this patient population, from the formulation of an accurate diagnosis to the implementation of effective treatment strategies.

Review Articles
© Cambridge University Press 2018 

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