Is it Hereditary and Can It Be Cured?

The mother who got Tourette on Channel 4 introduces us to mother of three Elizabeth, who developed Tourette after her 40th birthday – but can Tourette be cured?

Elizabeth seems to be an otherwise “normal” mother in a “normal” family – until you hear her pepper every conversation with obscene and sometimes racist words (we can’t repeat them here).

Her son Robert also suffers from the disease.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tourette and the Channel 4 documentation.


Elizabeth has Tourette, but can it be cured? (Credit: Channel 4)

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What is Tourette?

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary, sometimes offensive tics.

Tourette is a disorder that involves repetitive movements and unwanted noises.

For example, you can blink your eyes repeatedly, shrug your shoulders, or make strange noises or offensive words.

It usually starts in childhood, but the tics and other symptoms often improve after a few years and sometimes go away completely.

People with Tourette syndrome have a combination of physical and vocal tics.

Examples of physical problems include blinking, rolling your eyes, making faces, shrugging your shoulders, twitching your head or limbs, jumping, and touching things.

Examples of voice disorders include grunting, clearing throats, whistling, coughing, clicking the tongue, making animal noises, and swearing.

In fact, swearing is rare, affecting only about 1 in 10 people with Tourette’s syndrome.

What causes Tourette?

The cause of the syndrome is unknown.

It is believed to be connected to a part of the brain that helps regulate body movements.

Boys are more likely to have Tourette’s syndrome than girls, although it is not clear why.

Elizabeth Hall and her son Robert both have Tourette (Credit: Channel 4)
Elizabeth Hall and her son Robert both have the syndrome, but what is Tourette? (Credit: Channel 4)

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Can it be cured?

There is no cure for the syndrome, but treatment can help relieve symptoms.

People with Tourette’s syndrome may also have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or learning difficulties.

Some people can control their tics for short periods of time in certain social situations, such as in a classroom.

It takes focus, but becomes easier as you practice.

Treatment is usually available on the NHS and may include behavioral therapy given by a psychologist or specially trained therapist.

Medicine can help some people with tics.

Is it Hereditary?

It’s a hereditary disease.

Genetic studies have shown that TS is inherited as the dominant gene.

About 50% of parents pass the gene on to their children.

Boys with the genes are three to four times more likely to show symptoms of TS than girls.

Elizabeth and her youngest child Florence (Image credit: Channel 4)
Elizabeth and her youngest child Florence (Image credit: Channel 4)

The mother who has Tourette on C4: What is it about?

This C4 documentary introduces us to the mother of three Elizabeth Hall, her husband Simeon and their three children Robert, Florence and Eloise.

They live in Bedfordshire and seem like a perfectly normal family.

Until Elizabeth speaks – and her sentences are littered with swear words.

Shortly after her 40th birthday, Elizabeth developed Tourette’s syndrome and now involuntarily spices up her daily life with unpleasant profanity.

The eldest son Robert also has the condition.

This one-off documentary follows Elizabeth and her family through a busy summer including a Cornwall vacation, GCSE results, and meeting her son’s new friend.

Viewers called the document “inspirational” when it first aired in April 2020.

The mother who got Tourette will air on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10 p.m. on C4.

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