Adults with Tourette’s syndrome with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Mary M Robertson, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychiatry, UCL, Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, 2nd Floor, Charles Bell House, 67-73 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EJ, UK.


Objective:  Comorbidity between Tourette’s syndrome (TS) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is high. In children, those with both TS+ADHD fare less well than those with TS-only on measures of both psychopathology and behaviour. The objective of this study was to document such measures in adult patients.

Method:  Eighty adults with TS-only were compared to 64 with TS+ADHD using a clinical interview and standardised measures of depression, anxiety and obsessionality.

Results:  The two groups were no different on measures of TS severity. TS+ADHD patients had significantly more depression, anxiety, obsessive–compulsive behaviour and maladaptive behaviours than patients with TS-only. There were also significant differences in the incidence of copro- and echo-phenomena and family history of ADHD.

Conclusion:  The finding of increased overall behavioural difficulties and psychopathology in adult patients with TS+ADHD when compared with TS-only is in agreement with previous findings in children with TS. Appropriate treatment of ADHD in TS patients during childhood may prevent many behavioural problems in adulthood.