In a recent interview with David Lettermen’s New Netflix show, “My next guest needs no introduction”, Pop superstar Billie Eilish talks about her struggles with the Tourettes syndrome.
The 20-year-old experienced an on-camera tic when speaking on David Letterman.
According to her, this tic was triggered due to lights on set.
After this, Tourettes Syndrom has been pushed into the mainstream news space.
Many major news agencies have taken up the contents of this interview to talk about this health condition.
So what is Tourette’s syndrome? What are the major issues faced by people facing this issue?
Let us try to understand all of this in the article.
What is Tourette’s syndrome? (TS)
Tourette syndrome is a problem of the nervous system that results in a person making involuntary sounds and movements called tics.
It usually starts during childhood, but the tics and other symptoms usually improve after several years and sometimes go away completely.
The exact cause of the problem appearing in the brain is not known, but genetics play a vital role. People with a family history of Tourette’s, OCD or ADHD are more likely to develop Tourette syndrome. he Tics can vary from slight movements such as blinking or twitching and be more severe such as shaking of the head or arms. Similarly, the sounds can be mild such as clearing the throat or sniffing and maybe severe like shouting or yelling out words.
As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no single test to diagnose the syndrome
What are the major issues faced by people facing this issue?
The first major issue faced by the patients facing Tourettes is the lack of awareness and stigma of the masses against the disease.
As mentioned by Billie Eilish “The most common way that people react is they laugh because they think I’m trying to be funny,” she said. “And I’m always left incredibly offended by that.”
The fact that a big star like Billie has to face such ridicule shows the severity of the problem.
She also goes on to say it is exhausting to deal with people in general because of their insensitive behaviour.
Then comes the problem of classification the distinction between physical and mental illness can be blurred in a quintessentially neuropsychiatric disorder such as TS. Thus making it difficult to study.
Another major problem is the diagnosis and treatment, in a country like India it is very difficult to find good behavioural therapy or treatments to treat such issues, due to which patients have to deal with all the problems that this disease brings till the latter stages of life exposing him to more public ridicule.
Because of all of this, people facing Tourettes have to go through a lot with little or no societal support.
What can we do?
Thus it is very important to increase awareness about these issues in society.
Make this a recurring long term topic of conversation not only when a celebrity talks about facing these issues.
Spread awareness in your friend circle and immediate family.
Credits:- The Indian Express and BBC
Featured Image Credits:- Billboard