Tics and Tourette’s Disorder

Tics and Tourette’s Disorder

Tourette Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder most commonly affecting children and teens. Tics are often first noticed in children ages 3-4 years and tend to peak during ages 10-13 years.  Facial tics are most common and 60% will have below waist tics. Males are more likely than females to experience tics. It is common for individuals with tics to also experience symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many individuals with tics during childhood will no longer experience them as adults or they become less noticeable.

Common motor tics include:

  • Eye blinking, darting, or widening
  • Head nodding or head jerking
  • Neck roll
  • Shrugging shoulders
  • Facial grimacing
  • Jaw clicking or thrusting
  • Body jerk or body twist

Common vocal tics include:

  • Sniffing
  • Snorting
  • Coughing
  • Throat clearing
  • Animal or bird sounds

The evidence-based treatment for tics and Tourette's Disorder is called, Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT). CBIT is a short-term, behavioral intervention that helps individuals with tics to make the connection between the tics and the environment, become more aware of tic urges or signals, and engage in certain actions, called competing responses to prevent or reduce the tic. The research shows that 86% of individuals who participate in CBIT will experience improvement.