Is Tourette’s Syndrome a Brilliant Gift or a Dreaded Curse?

I once heard that the difference between a good performance and a stellar one is transcendence—going beyond what’s written in the script or a song sheet. And, in my personal opinion, famed comedian, actor, blues musician, writer, director, and producer, Dan Ackroyd, nails it every time!

ghostbusters dan aykroyd
Well, he IS a genius! Source:

But did you know that he is among many famous people who are living with Tourette’s syndrome (TS)?

Dan has apparently been living with Tourette’s syndrome since childhood, and he’s not alone. I read an article that features Mr. Ackroyd and other celebs who reportedly have this neuropsychiatric disorder.

Is Tourette’s syndrome somehow a “gift” or a curse to creative people?

I often wonder that. I mean, I just love creative people—especially when you find out they’ve got a chronic illness or a condition they struggle with. I wonder if their physical and emotional pain becomes a catalyst, becoming so intense that they’ve just gotta get it out! So they seek out music, or art, or acting, etc.—any kind of a creative outlet so they can express themselves.

john belushi blues brothers dan akroyd ray charles
Get it, Danny! Source:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately one child out of 360 have Tourette’s syndrome, but I’ve also read that only 200,000 Americans have TS. And honestly, based on personal observations, I think TS is far more prevalent in the US but largely undiagnosed because it’s difficult to exclude from other conditions.

I wonder, though, for musicians and even star athletes, when they do express themselves, does it help to relieve anxiety and possibly tics?

There doesn’t seem to be any credible evidence to support the theory, but the internet is filled with peeps who say that physical exercise and having an emotional/expressive outlet helps.

Rock on, Dan—and anyone else who’s living with TS.

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone has a BA in psychology and is dedicated to improving the lives of others living with chronic illnesses.

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