Tourette syndrome often makes people think of out of control swearing and verbal barrages of four-letter words, but it's a real neurological condition that can cause tics and other symptoms that are extremely difficult to live with for patients who have the disorder. It's classified as a motor disorder because most of the time it's not bad language that's the real problem, but uncontrollable tics and movements. They can range from minor twitching to a person smacking themselves or yelling loudly at inappropriate times. It's not entirely clear what causes the disorder, and even the numbers are not exact. Anywhere from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 people worldwide could have Tourette syndrome.
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with it. Many times it will show up in childhood and be outgrown later in life, but there are adults who had their first onset well into their 30s. There is some evidence that it's genetic, but about 1/3 of patients have no family history of it. It can also arise from head trauma or illness. While there is much that isn't known about the disorder, it's still very real to those who must deal with it.