TS and ADHD, Page 11

Is Tourette’s Syndrome a Neurological Disorder? — A Dissenting Viewpoint.

[Note: This essay should be read in conjunction with my first two essays regarding Tourette’s Syndrome offered on this website; most especially, the one regarding the Duke University behavioral therapy report.]

In 1885, the French physician Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette published an account of nine patients, under the title Study of a Nervous Affliction, with severe tic disorders. Jean-Martin Charcot, an influential French physician and Dr. Tourette’s mentor, agreed with Tourette that a new classification for patients exhibiting such symptoms was in order and named it for his protégé whom he had assigned to study patients with such symptoms.

Thus, “Tourette Syndrome” entered the canon of medical afflictions. However, the search for the cause of the affliction proved elusive, as all sorts of fanciful theories were put forward ranging from: hereditary organic causes to repressed sexual desires of the Freudian variety; to obsessive mothers and poor parenting skills. Until the mid-sixties of the twentieth century, no real consensus emerged beyond that Freudian psychoanalysis was the preferred path of medical intervention.

This began to change decisively when a psychiatrist named Arthur K. Shapiro began to suspect that tic disorders were the result of organic brain abnormalities, as opposed to psychological maladjustments. His hypothesis was subsequently confirmed—at least in his estimation—when a TS patient he treated with the drug haloperidol (Haldol) showed marked improvement in regard to tics. Assisted by Elaine Shapiro, Ph.D., his wife, Dr. Shapiro wrote a forceful paper reporting his results and disparaging the then prevailing psychoanalytic paradigm. The paper was published in 1968 in the British Journal of Psychiatry, having been first rejected by American medical journals.

Because haloperidol, a neuroleptic (“antipsychotic”) drug, is a potent inhibitor of dopamine receptors within the brain, the “neurological disorder” classification of TS was born and gained increasing acceptance within the medical and mental health communities as advocated by the Shapiros and the Tourette Syndrome Association which they helped found along with patients' families. Click to continue:


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