Symptoms of Tic Disorders

Tics are repetitive sounds or movements. They may be semi-voluntary or hard to control. The 2 types of tics are motor tics and vocal tics. Nervous system issues cause both types of tics.

Motor tics can impact any part of the body. They are simple or complex.

  • Simple tics use 1 muscle
  • Complex tics use more than 1 muscle group

Motor tics include:

  • Moving the head and shoulders
  • Blinking
  • Banging on surfaces
  • Snapping fingers
  • Touching objects or people

Vocal tics include:

  • Making noises
  • Throat clearing
  • Saying words or sentences

You must have 1 or more tics to be diagnosed with a tic disorder. Tics can be mild or severe. They also vary in type and how often they happen. Severe tics can affect quality of life. They can impact your ability to communicate and do daily tasks. People with tic disorders sometimes report an uncomfortable feeling before they have a tic. It can feel like a tingle, itch or tension. The tic can help relieve the feeling.

Tics can change over time. They might get worse if you are sick, stressed, anxious, tired or excited. They can also get worse during teenage years and improve as you get older.

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

To be diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, you must:

  • Have at least 2 motor tics
  • Have at least 1 vocal tic that lasts for more than a year
  • Have symptoms that start before the age of 18


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