Living With Tourette Syndrome
- Singer Lewis Capaldi’s Tourette syndrome symptoms have impacted his music performance.
- Capaldi said he’ll quit performing if his symptoms cause “irreparable damage,” but right now he is set on playing the music he loves.
- Tourette syndrome causes a person to have repetitive and involuntary movements or unwanted sounds (tics), which may include repeated eye-blinking, shoulder shrugging or blurting out odd sounds.
- Tourette Association of America estimates one out of every 160 children between 5-17 in the U.S. has the disorder.
- While there is no cure for Tourette syndrome, options exist to manage the symptoms, including medication and therapy.
Singer Lewis Capaldi, best known for his hit “Someone You Loved,” is rapidly gaining acclaim in the U.S. after dominating the U.K. music charts. And he’s doing it while dealing with the nervous system disorder called Tourette syndrome, which causes people to make sudden and involuntary twitches or movements. While fans have supported him through his diagnosis, he recently said that the disorder — and how it affects his daily life — may one day keep him from making the music he loves.
“It’s only making music that does this to me, otherwise I can be fine for months at a time, so it’s a weird situation” Capaldi told The Times, of experiencing symptoms from Tourette syndrome.Read More
In the middle of his wild success, the beloved singer shared publicly last year that he has Tourette syndrome. The disorder involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, called tics, that cannot be easily controlled, according to Mayo Clinic. Tourette syndrome might cause a person to grunt or cough unwillingly, or shrug or blink repeatedly, for example.
During a February performance, Capaldi was in the middle of playing a song when he began experiencing tics, causing him to periodically stop singing. Fortunately, his passionate and supportive fans continued to sing along when the 26-year-old could not.
@katharina.shry we support you!! @Lewis Capaldi #konzert #frankfurt #lewiscapalditour #foryou #fyp ♬ Originalton – 🤍
“The twitches became out of control, it was awful, absolutely horrific. I started to get in my head about it, you know these pressures about things. Rather than just me singing my silly little songs other people are depending on me,” Capaldi told the Independent news outlet.
Capaldi said his twitches grew increasingly worse to the point that sitting at the piano to play the instrument became “physically painful” and he becomes short of breath and experiences back pain.
“It feels like I’m going insane, I can’t breathe, I get dizzy, I’m sweating, my whole body starts convulsing,” Capaldi said.
Read More on Coping With a Diagnosis
Understanding Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome tics typically show up in children between 2 and 15 years old, with boys 3 to 4 times more likely to develop the syndrome than girls, according to Mayo Clinic.
Tourette Association of America estimates one out of every 160 children between 5-17 in the U.S. has the disorder.
Tourette Syndrome Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms for Tourette syndrome may include:
- Eye blinking
- Head jerking
- Shoulder shrugging
- Eye darting
- Nose twitching
- Mouth movements
- Touching or smelling objects
- Repeating observed movements
- Stepping in a certain pattern
- Obscene gesturing
- Bending or twisting
- Throat clearing
People with Tourette syndrome may have other conditions at the same time, which may include:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Learning disabilities
- Sleep disorder
- Anger-management problems
While there is no cure for Tourette syndrome, options exist to manage the symptoms. There are several medications and therapy methods available to help reduce tics and the side effects associated to help give people a better quality of life. Your doctor is in the best position to help you understand your unique cirsumstances and which treatment may be best for you.
Capaldi’s Future in Music
Capaldi is contemplating the future of his music career which began in 2014 if performing worsens his quality of life as he manages symptoms associated with Tourette syndrome.
it’s finally time… so excited to announce my brand new song, ‘pointless’🥀
out, friday 2nd december!!!🕺x
hear it first 👉 https://t.co/bqCZFCBeco pic.twitter.com/loUbyufOsG
— Lewis Capaldi (@LewisCapaldi) November 25, 2022
“Right now, the trade-off is worth it,” the singer said, willing to deal with his condition while continuing to perform as a musician.
“But if it gets to a point where I’m doing irreparable damage to myself, I’ll quit,” Capaldi added.
Capldi shares more on the impact Tourette Syndrome is having on him in a new Netflix documentary “Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now,” premiering April 5.
Helping Loved Ones With Tourette Syndrome
Caring for a loved one recently diagnosed with a disease, disorder or cancer can be challenging and stressful for the patient and the entire family. As with any diagnosis, SurvivorNet reminds families and the warriors on the battlefield, don’t blame yourself. Finding support and asking lots of questions to your doctor are two good starting points as you begin your journey.
WATCH: What goes into being a caregiver?
Tourette Association of America has many resources available for parents, teens and caregivers of loved ones diagnosed with the disorder.
Parents are encouraged to learn to accept and love their child and take what may seem like a problem and turn it into the family’s strength.
“In the best instance, as the child with TS grows up, parents can encourage interests, dreams and the development of individual skills (such as singing, dancing, computers or sports) and encourage positive aspects of the emerging personality, such as kindness or understanding, a sense of humor, or other talents,” Tourette Association of America recommends.
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