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Tic Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Tic Disorder

Tics are irregular, involuntary, and repetitive muscular contractions that can occur anywhere on the body. The three main categories of tic disorders are Tourette’s syndrome, motor, and vocal. Motor tics are defined as limb and other body component movements. Vocal tics are involuntary repeating sounds like clearing one’s throat, sniffing, or grunting. Typically beginning in childhood, tic disorders show symptoms for the first time around age five.

Generally speaking, men are more likely than women to have them Trusted Source. A year is all it takes for many tics instances to end. On the other hand, tics can sometimes lead to chronic disorders. Roughly 1 in 100 people suffer from chronic tics.

Risk factors and their causes:

It’s unclear what specifically causes tic disorder therapist. Some particular genetic variations that may play a part in Tourette’s disease have been found in recent research. Additionally, brain chemistry appears to be significant, particularly the neurotransmitters glutamate, serotonin, and dopamine. Tics with a clear cause fall into a different diagnosis group. Of these, tics are caused by:

  • Head injuries.
  • stroke
  • infections
  • chemicals
  • surgery
  • additional injuries.

Furthermore, more severe medical conditions like Huntington’s disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be linked to tics.

Risk factors for tic disorders are:

  • Genetics: Since tics often run in families, these disorders may have a hereditary foundation.

Signs and symptoms:

The existence of one or more tics is the hallmark sign of tic disorders. They can be categorized as follows:

Motor tics:

These comprise tics that move the head and shoulders, blink, jerk, bang, click the fingers, or touch objects or persons. Though this isn’t always the case, motor tics typically manifest before vocal tics.

Vocal Tics:

Vocal tics include sounds like clearing one’s throat, grunting, coughing, and repeating words or phrases.

Tics can also be separated into the subsequent groups:

Simple tics:

These are brief, abrupt tics that involve only a few muscular units. Some instances are clearing the throat, darting the eyes, and twitching the nose.

Complex tics:

These entail the synchronized contraction of multiple muscle units. Some examples include pointing, repeating words or phrases, hopping or stepping in a particular way.

Usually, an uncomfortable urge, like a tingle or itching, comes before a tic. It is possible to resist the urge to perform the tic, but doing so takes a lot of work and frequently results in anxiety and stress. After executing the tic, one experiences relief from these feelings.

The following are possible tic disorder symptoms:

  • increase in intensity with feelings like stress, elation, rage, and exhaustion.
  • worsen during sickness.
  • worsen with high temperatures.
  • occur when sleeping.
  • change throughout time.
  • differ in kind and intensity.
  • enhance over time.

Diagnosis of Tic disorder:

Boys are more likely than females to experience temporary tic disorders, which are characterized by motor tics as opposed to verbal tics. Seven years old is the average age at which tic disorders are diagnosed. Typically, tic symptoms fluctuate over time; they may peak at puberty and then progressively decline. Though tics can occasionally persist into maturity, many people with tic symptoms become tic-free by young adulthood.

Treatment Options:

The kind and degree of tic condition determine the course of treatment. Tics frequently go away on their own without any medical intervention. Deep brain stimulation, drugs, and therapy are options for treating severe tics that cause problems in day-to-day functioning.

Therapies for tic disorders:

There are several therapies that can help patients manage their tics and lessen their frequency, such as:

Exposure and response prevention (ERP):

A kind of cognitive behavioral therapy where the goal is to assist patients learn to tolerate the unsettling urges that come before a tic.

Habit reversal Therapy:

A kind of treatment that teaches patients with tic disorders how to compete with their tics by using movements that prevent them from happening.


Both therapy and medication can be used together or separately. Although medication usually minimizes the frequency of tics, it does not entirely eliminate the symptoms. Medications that are available include:

  • anti-seizure drugs
  • Botox injections
  • drugs that relax muscles
  • Dopamine-interacting drugs

Deep brain stimulation:

For TS patients whose tics are not controlled by current therapies and negatively affect their quality of life, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a viable choice. A battery-powered device is implanted in the brain during DBS. Electrical impulses are used to target certain movement-controlling brain regions in an effort to prevent Tic.

Also Read: Tic Disorder Treatment Near Me

Self-help and coping strategies:

The frequency of tics can be decreased with certain lifestyle modifications. Among them are:

  • Preventing tension and unease.
  • obtaining adequate rest.
  • Join a TS or other tic disorder support group.
  • Seek help and support from friends and others.
  • Keep in mind that as people mature, tics often become better or go away.

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