Psychology Coprolalia


The coprolalia is a medical term used to describe one of the most baffling symptoms and socially stigmatized the Tourette syndrome : the involuntary use of obscene words or comments socially inappropriate and derogatory . Although coprolalia is the best known symptom of Tourette syndrome, it only occurs in a minority of patients with this disease. Usually expressed as a single word , but can involve phrasescomplex. Doctors long mistakenly believed that a diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome could not be confirmed unless coprolalia was present. Until recently, professionals thought that coprolalia was caused by psychological problems such as extreme frustration, pent-up anger, or sexuality. It is now understood that the root of this symptom is physical , that is, neurobiological in nature . For those with coprolalia trying to deal with the world, in public places, schools, homes, or work, simply getting through the day can be extremely difficult.


What is coprolalia?

It is one of the most misunderstood symptoms that develops in people with Syndrome of Tourette and expression is so involuntary of obscenities or inappropriate comments that refer to areas genitals , feces , bad language or sexual acts.


Causes of coprolalia

The cause lies in the problems of the inhibitory mechanism of the brain that causes involuntary movements. In people with Tourette Syndrome, this ability is limited so they cannot control impulses . The release of words or phrases generally one relief on the person. Language seems to be related to the emotional content of the person’s brain.


Symptoms of coprolalia

The characteristic symptoms of coprolalia are the following:

  • People have the urge to utter words suddenly , either in a normal tone or in shouts.
  • It is closely related to Tourette syndrome which produces involuntary movements or tics.
  • It may also result or symptoms of other disorders of type neurological as strokes or tumors .
  • Patients suffer from social anxiety .
  • It produces serious concentration problems .
  • It is considered a mental disorder and not a psychopathological one.
  • The words that come up the most in coprolalia are obscene and sexual in content , but it can include any word that sounds rude.
  • There is a mental repetition by the patient of the words mentioned.


The diagnosis is mainly based on looking for symptoms of the condition. It is also important to know if the person suffers from Tourette Syndrome or not, they are situations that occur in isolation.


In recent years the use of botulinum toxin injection has been one of the treatments used to relieve coprolalia. This is the toxin that causes botulism and is injected near the vocal cords , which can help calm verbal tics in some people. However, this is often a last resort treatment, as it is not without risks. The psychological therapy and some medications, particularly the blocking of dopamine , can also be effective in treating and some people can get out of Tourette Syndrome.

Symptoms often peak during adolescence and improve in early adulthood . Because Tourette syndrome can be caused by neurological factors, anti-seizure medications are beneficial for some people. Treatment often focuses on factors specific to Tourette syndrome in addition to coprolalia. An important part of treatment is early diagnosis that can help parents understand that these behaviors are not willful or malicious and cannot be prevented by punishing the child. Parents must understand how to help a child.

The Haloperidol is an antipsychotic drug commonly used in pathology, but can also cause side effects such as numbness, weight gain, blurred vision, drowsiness and slow opinion. Side effects of pimozide , another antipsychotic drug, are generally milder. The prescription drug Clonidine , which is not an antipsychotic, can help combat anxiety and obsessive-forced behavior , side effects are milder than haloperidol and pimozide. The Clonazepam is an anti-anxiety medication in the treatment of Tourette syndrome, but has limited success.

Coprolalia and Tourette syndrome

With only 5% to 1% of the population affected by this complicated disorder, the treatment options for Tourette and for coprolalia are quite complicated. Tourette Syndrome usually arises hand in hand with other conditions such as hyperactivity , attention deficit , obsessive-compulsive disorders, and some problems related to impulse control . Coprolalia is a symptom that some people with Tourette Syndrome manifest, although the percentage is still low.

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