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TikTok, the origin of Tourette syndrome in teenage girls?

While social networks are singled out for their negative influence on mental health, could the TikTok application also be the cause of health problems?

What is the relationship between Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and TikTok?

Praised by those under 30, TikTok has experienced a surge in popularity thanks to the pandemic and its successive confinements. In the turmoil from time to time, the social network could still bear the brunt of grim accusations.

Indeed, a Canadian study conducted by neurologists seems to show that there is a link between TikTok and Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. They would have noticed a correlation between the increase in the onset of the disease in adolescent girls and their excessive use of the social network.

Many think of this disease as someone who chants insults involuntarily, but it’s not just that. As a reminder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome results in many tics that are sudden and uncontrollable. It can be sound tics but also motor tics. These appear in particular on the face.

So what is the link between TikTok and this disease? How can the social network be at the origin of an increase in people affected by this syndrome?

With the lockdowns repeated, many have sought to pass the time through TikTok. Especially the youngest. And these would have been exposed to influencers affected by Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

These latter share their experience and sometimes even advice on how to best cope with this disease. Something positive, in short! To give you an idea, the TicTok hashtag has over nine billion views. This testifies to its popularity on the social network …

Yet, according to the Canadian study, this exposure added to stress and anxiety related to Codi-19 would have triggered symptoms in many people. Young girls between the ages of 12 and 25 who spend a lot of time on TikTok develop symptoms of TS, according to neurologist Davide Martino. Thus, they would now have motor tics but also vocal.

A mass sociogenic disease

If the symptoms are very similar to Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, it would seem that these “TikTok tics” are still distinct from the well-known disease. For neurologists who have looked into the question, it would thus be a mass sociogenic disease. It means behaviors, emotions and conditions spreading through a group. Those affected were already prone to anxiety.

More simply, it seems that these people exposed to influencers with TS have developed symptoms through “mimicry”. All this due to extreme use of TikTok, which explains overexposure. Only the future can tell us if the link between the social network and the disease is indeed proven.

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