The Struggles Behind Tics disorders

Symptoms and diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome Tics disorders

By Neurosurgery Singapore

What is Tics disorders?

Tics disorders are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. People who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. 

Movements of the limbs and other body parts are known as motor tics. Involuntary repetitive sounds, such as grunting, sniffing, or throat clearing, are called vocal tics.

Tic disorders usually start in childhood, first presenting at approximately 5 years of age. In general, they are more common among compared with females.

Many cases of tics are temporary and resolve within a year. However, some people who experience tics develop a chronic disorder. Chronic tics affects about 1 out of 100.

What are some types Tics disorders?

Tourette Syndrome (TS): One facing such issue would experience:

  • have two or more motor tics (for example, blinking or shrugging the shoulders) and at least one vocal tic (for example, humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase), although they might not always happen at the same time.
  • have had tics for at least a year. The tics can occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day, or off and on.
  • have tics that begin before age 18 years.
  • have symptoms that are not due to taking medicine or other drugs or due to having another medical condition (for example, seizures, Huntington disease, or postviral encephalitis).
 

Persistent (Chronic) Motor or Vocal Tic Disorder: An individual diagnosed with a persistent tic disorder would have:

  • have one or more motor tics (for example, blinking or shrugging the shoulders) or vocal tics (for example, humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase), but not both.
  • have tics that occur many times a day nearly every day or on and off throughout a period of more than a year.
  • have tics that start before age 18 years.
  • have symptoms that are not due to taking medicine or other drugs, or due to having a medical condition that can cause tics (for example, seizures, Huntington disease, or postviral encephalitis).
  • not have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.
 

Provisional Tic Disorder: Such ones would be experiencing the following:

  • have one or more motor tics (for example, blinking or shrugging the shoulders) or vocal tics (for example, humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase).
  • have been present for no longer than 12 months in a row.
  • have tics that start before age 18 years.
  • have symptoms that are not due to taking medicine or other drugs, or due to having a medical condition that can cause tics (for example, Huntington disease or postviral encephalitis).
  • not have been diagnosed with TS or persistent motor or vocal tic disorder.

“Tourette Syndrome (TS) is not a degenerative tics disorders condition (one that continues to get worse) and individuals with TS have a normal life expectancy.”

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What types of diagnosis?

Tic disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. The child must be under 18 at the onset of symptoms for a tic disorder to be diagnosed. Also, the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions or drugs.

The criteria used to diagnose transient tic disorder include the presence of one or more tics, occurring for less than 12 months in a row.

Chronic motor or vocal tic disorders are diagnosed if one or more tics have occurred almost daily for 12 months or more. People with a chronic tic disorder that is not TS, will experience either motor tics or vocal tics, but not both.

TS is based on the presence of both motor and vocal tics, occurring almost daily for 12 months or more. Most children are under the age of 11 when they are diagnosed. Other behavioral concerns are often present, as well.

To rule out other causes of tics, our specialist may suggest:

  • blood tests
  • MRI scans or other imaging

Living with Tics disorders

Living with transient tic disorder can be frustrating at times. However, the condition is manageable with proper treatment. Try to keep your stress at reasonable levels to help reduce your symptoms. Therapy and medication can help relieve symptoms in some cases.

Parents of children with transient tic disorder play an important role in providing emotional support and helping ensure that their child’s education doesn’t suffer.

Typically, tics disappear after a few months. Research seems to indicate that children experiencing tics who had none over a year ago have a favorable outlook. However, these children have only about a one in three chance of remaining completely tic-free over the next 5 to 10 years.

Parents should keep a watchful eye on changing symptoms regardless. In some cases, transient tic disorder can develop into a more serious condition, such as Tourette syndrome.

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