Tourette's syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterised by motor and phonic tics. Although tics are common in children, only about 1% of those affected meet the criteria for Tourette's syndrome, and many are not disabled by it. Associated problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders can often be more disabling than the tics themselves. People with Tourette's tend to be worst in their teenage years but improve in adulthood. The cause is unknown but there are strong genetic factors. Treatment should be aimed at minimising disability and includes social, psychological and biological approaches.