Patients with Tourette Syndrome Likely To Have Additional Psychiatric Symptoms

Carol Mathews UCSF Professor, Psychiatry UCSF School of Interview with:
Carol Mathews
Professor, Psychiatry
UCSF School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mathews: The background for this study is that, as a part of ongoing genetic studies of Tourette Syndrome, the Tourette Syndrome Association International Genetics Collaborative (TSAICG) has collected a wealth of information about commonly co-occurring psychiatric disorders in individuals with Tourette Syndrome and their families, providing us with an opportunity to explore questions about Tourette Syndrome that are relevant to individuals with Tourette Syndrome, their families, and their treating clinicians.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Mathews: Individuals who present to clinics for evaluation and/or treatment of Tourette Syndrome are very likely to have additional psychiatric symptoms, including not only symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but also mood, anxiety, and disruptive behavior disorders. These disorders start early in life, sometimes as early as age 4, in individuals with TS.  None of the psychiatric conditions studied, except OCD and ADHD, had a direct genetic relationship to TS. Instead, they were related to OCD or ADHD. This suggests that individuals with OCD or ADHD, or those who have family members with these disorders, should be especially carefully screened for additional psychiatric symptoms.

Clinicians should begin to screen early for psychiatric symptoms in individuals with TS, particularly if they have ADHD or OCD or a family history of these conditions.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Mathews: Additional research needs to be done to further explore our preliminary finding that psychotic symptoms and substance abuse are not elevated in individuals with TS.  The genetic causes and the genetic relationships of these disorders to each other are a major focus of our ongoing work.


[wysija_form id=”1″] Interview with: Dr. Therese Tillin (2015). Patients with Tourette Syndrome Likely To Have Additional Psychiatric Symptoms