Clinical case of Tourette syndrome with self-harm

Kornelija Galinauskaitė1, Dalius Klimavičius1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Department of Psychiatry, Kaunas, Lithuania


Introduction: Tourette’s syndrome is characterized by characteristic involuntary movements, tics, with both motor and background components. Tourette’s syndrome usually begins around the age of 5-7 and worsens during puberty. Tics are repetitive, slightly stereotypical involuntary movements of the eyes, face and head, phonations (pronunciation of speech sounds, words, or phrases). Tourette’s syndrome is reduced or less intense in many patients as they grow older, suggesting that the underlying mechanisms involve processes that can improve as the brain matures. Self-harming behaviors occur in up to 53% of patients with Tourette’s syndrome, including compulsive scratching of the skin, self-tapping, biting lips and other parts of the body, knocking of the head, and injury to the eyes due to their starvation.

Clinical case: this clinical case presents a 14-year-old adolescent who develops Tourette’s syndrome in an intense self-harming tic. Various diagnostic studies have been performed to differentiate Tourette syndrome from other neurological disorders. The various medications tested did not have a positive effect until treatment with risperidone was finally prescribed, which improved the patient’s symptoms.

Conclusions: self-harm is a common and frustrating symptom of Tourette’s syndrome. Risperidone may be effective in treating the symptoms caused by Tourette’s syndrome.


Key words: Tourette syndrome, risperidone, self-harming, tics.