Anger Outbursts and Tourette Syndrome

Children and adults with Tourette Syndrome can experience a phenomenon called “Rage Attacks” in which the person has an unexplained outburst of uncontrollable rage or anger. These “attacks” are typically not goal directed and do not seem purposeful or tantrum like. These periods of rage are more common at home than at school, but can occur at any and all points during the day. These “attacks” are not necessarily related to behavioral disorders, and certainly not related to “bad parenting or teaching”. These “attacks” are related to a body’s natural reaction to handle environmental and psychological stressors. The person and body can become overloaded. Imagine it related to the picture below. Imagine the brain becoming so overwhelmed with stressors that the “head explodes” and anger is the result.  angry face

Persons with Tourette Syndrome have many stressors throughout the day, even more so than those without tics. Many stressors that those with Tourette Syndrome experience are the tics themselves, bullying at school, difficulties with school or homework and peer relations. Because of this, people with Tourette Syndrome can have these unexplained and sudden attacks of rage more often than those without.

There are many providers and strategies to help with those “Rage Attacks” gain a better understanding into what leads to those attacks and can help with arousal strategies to better manage.


  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Stress Management Courses


  • Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Relaxation CDs, applications and workshops
  • Exercise
  • Deep breathing strategies
  • Keeping a log of arousal levels during the day
  • Progressive Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Find social support to talk about stressors
  • Write it out in a journal
  • Many more that can be personalized with the right professional

Contact your local Center of Excellence with resources in your area or to set up an appointment to personalize your stress management routine.

About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L