Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological condition and is included with other tic disorders. A tic disorder is an involuntary and repetitive movement or vocalization, and are classified as motor or vocal (or phonic), simple or complex, and by the amount of time it has occurred.
Individuals with TS have had at least two motor tics and at least one vocal/phonic tic in some combination over the course of more than a year.
Complex vocal tics, common with TS, contain possibly recognizable words or phrases that are always out of context. In few cases, they may be inappropriate (i.e., curses, slurs, etc.). This type of vocalization is called coprolalia and is often mistakenly thought of as a common symptom.
Early symptoms occur in childhood, typically between three and nine years of age. Boys are more likely to be affected than girls. Estimates are that one in every 160 children between the ages of five and 17 in the U.S. has it.
Tics tend to increase and get worse between eight and twelve years old, but most people begin to improve in their late teens, with some becoming tic-free.