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Tics: Facts To Ponder About

 Tics are repeated tightening of muscle group which are rapid and, purposeless. There are movement and production of sound in tics. There could also be complex behaviour in the person. Most Tics are not serious and there is no need of treatment.

Boys are found to have tics three times more than that of girls, though the exact cause of it is not known. Tics are not done voluntarily. People with tics are not able to consciously control the tics. They find a strong urge to move their body parts which is linked to stress. People try to check their tics for sometime, but this raises their tension till they escape the tic. Tics increase when the person is under stress, tired or in high energy emotions. This emotion is generally negative like anxiety, but there could be positive emotion as well like excitement or anticipation.

 Causes of Tics

In Motor tics there are movement of the face muscles, head and neck. These involve blinking, facial twitching, shoulders shrugging, lip smacking, grimacing and facial twitching. In vocal tics, the person coughs grunts and clears the throat loudly. The intensity at which the tic is performed varies. Sometimes, it could be forceful, that seems to be frightening and troubling.

 Types of Tics

 There are three types of tics. These are Transient tic disorders, Chronic tic disorders and Tourette's syndrome.

 Transient Tic disorders

One out of four children will have Transient tic in their school days. This tic happens in one muscle group and they last for not more than few months. There could be a series of different tics of this type over many years.

Chronic Tic disorders

These tics remain for a long time with little change in their character. Sometimes, one might have many tics and are said to have chronic multiple tics. These type of persons do not require treatment, but they are disruptive as the person thinks that other person are finding them strange.

Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome includes Chronic tic disorders. This neurological disorder results in multiple motor and vocal tics. The tics are striking and their nature change frequently. This syndrome starts early in childhood and changes its intensity as one grow older. The cause of the syndrome is not clear but genetics is thought to be one of the main parts. It could be that one particular gene is susceptible to external factors and results in the condition.

 Symptoms of Tics

 The symptoms of Transient motor tics may be blinking, snapping the fingers, wrinkling the nose, squinting or jerking the head. There could also be transient vocal tics like gurgling or humming. There could be more weird behaviour like touching objects or licking. These types of tics are more prominent as the child gets excited or tired. But they are harmless and do not need any treatment. As the child sleeps, the symptoms disappear.

Tourette's syndrome is debilitating as the person has uncontrolled use of obscene language along with repetition of words as he or she hears from others. These people have different psychological problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm behaviour and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

 Treatment of Tics

 The primary treatment for disruptive tics is Psychological support and counseling of the person. There may be need for cognitive behavioral therapy to people for controlling their condition. Medication seems to be the effective means of treating tics. But the powerful drugs that are prescribed have some unpleasant side effects. Around 70 percent of people with Tourette's syndrome have used medication. But, if possible, they prefer to correct without medication.


Parents should not panic if they find their children developing tics. Most of the tics are mild and go away. The tics do not meddle with daily life or school. If someone is taking stimulant drugs, they may find having tics but these go away as the drug is stopped. Stress has been found to aggravate the situation of tic and make one’s life miserable. Hence it is necessary to relax and use biofeedback techniques to free one of tics.

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I have a 4.5 yr old son. He started blinking quickly last Sunday and when we went for a physical the doctor asked me how long he's been blinking that way.... She said it was "tics". Could a doctor figure this out the first time seeing my child??? Or should I get a second opinion? PLEASE HELP?
#1 - Tiffany S. - 10/22/2009 - 12:29
My ex boyfriend had a episode with visual hallucinations and vocal hallucinations while incarcerated he was put in 72 hr evaluation a d put on Haldal his father is a scitzophrinic this happened to the ex boyfriend when he was 29-30 he has been out of jail since June 27 2013 and hasn't had his meds he has acted totally irrational and I believe is using heroin and meth please help me with what if any coarse of action to help him he is going to end up dead or back in jail he has acted like nothing matters to him family feelings, facial twitching his mouth and emotionless expression and no kindness just cold stare which looks line hatred he has broke in my house and stolen things and said he didn't do it and then a friend told on him he have me some things back and still said he didn't take them I'm going out of my mind with worry and need help with what is the next step for him help or what to tell his family to do when he went to jail 1 1/2 yrs ago it was for threatening to shoot his sister which he denies he denies everything and he was supposedly using heroin then also help me please
#2 - Laura hinkle - 09/16/2013 - 13:29
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