'I am wired a completely different way': Melanie Sykes self-diagnoses Tourette's syndrome

The 52-year-old was diagnosed with autism in 2021. Credit: PA

Melanie Sykes said she has diagnosed herself with Tourette's syndrome.

In an interview with Alan Carr on his podcast Life's A Beach, Sykes opened up about how the condition has impacted her life.

The 52-year-old was diagnosed with autism in 2021, and now joins a list of other celebrities, including Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish, who have been vocal about their journey with Tourette's.

After being assured by Carr that she was allowed to swear on the podcast, Sykes replied: "Oh good, but I'll try not to, because I've just discovered I have Tourette's."

Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neurological condition that causes you to make involuntary movements and sounds called tics.

Sykes was on the podcast to promote her new book, titled Illuminated: Autism And All The Things I've Left Unsaid.

"I am wired a completely different way and I'm only just understanding it," she told Carr.

"Where I used to think 'what's wrong with me?' now I know it's everything that's right with me."

She took to Twitter on Monday to clarify the diagnosis came from herself: "I self-identify because of my studies and understanding of the pre-existing 'conditions' that are hand in hand in some autistic people."

Some more information on Tourette's syndrome

There is a common misconception that Tourette's syndrome causes you to swear involuntarily and although that can be one form tics can take, there are many other ways the syndrome manifests.

These are some of the examples of tics the NHS lists:

  • blinking

  • shoulder shrugging

  • jerking of the head or limbs

  • touching objects and other people

  • grunting

  • whistling

  • animal sounds

  • swearing

Only around one in 10 people with Tourette's syndrome involuntarily swear.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

It comes as Scottish singer Capaldi decided to take a break from touring to adjust to his Tourette's diagnosis after struggling to perform at Glastonbury festival.

The star said his performance at Glastonbury made it “obvious that I need to spend much more time getting my mental and physical health in order, so I can keep doing everything I love for a long time to come."

There is currently no cure for TS, but most people who have the syndrome do not need any treatment, and can learn how to control tics with the help of a specialist.

The most common treatment involves behavioural therapy to reduce tics and manage emotional stability.

Medicine can be used in instances where the tics are more severe or visibly harmful.

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