The singer-songwriter has the syndrome that includes involuntary movements among the symptoms
American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, 20, spoke in an interview with David Letterman for his Netflix series about living with Tourette Syndrome. The condition associated with neurological and mental health is a neurodevelopmental disorder that becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence.
Symptoms include involuntary and vocal movements, which may be transient or persist into adolescence and adulthood. The cases can also be associated with other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Although there is no cure for the syndrome, available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life. According to Tourette association of America, there are no tests to confirm the diagnosis of involuntary movement disorders, which include the syndrome. However, in some cases, tests may be necessary to rule out other medical conditions. In relation to Tourette Syndrome, patients must present at least two involuntary movements and at least one vocal tic, not necessarily at the same time. Also, these symptoms may wax and wane in frequency, but they must have been occurring for more than a year.
Involuntary movements caused by substances or other medical conditions exclude a diagnosis of Tourette. “The diagnosis is clinical, there is no complementary exam that makes the diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. From the presence of these symptoms, the more vocal motor tics, for more than a year and that started before the age of 18, the diagnosis is made”, explained the neurologist Christiane. Cobas, from the Sírio-Libanês Hospital, in São Paulo. The causes of this syndrome remain unknown. Cases can happen in more than one person in the same family, which indicates that genetic factors are involved in the development.
Symptoms can lead to psychological and social impairment of patients. In order to reduce the stigma about the disease, experts recommend raising awareness of both the patient and people they know about what the syndrome is. When tics start to interfere with daily routine, such as school or work activities, treatment can be indicated from psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the use of medication such as antipsychotics.
By Camily Maciel