What Are Tics in Tourette Syndrome? Are they Bugs?

No, the bug version is spelled, “T-I-C-K.” Tics that are found in Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders are defined as, “sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly,” by the Center of Disease Control’s article “Facts About Tourette Syndrome.” Tics can increase or decrease, and are often exacerbated by heightened stress levels, physical injuries, illness, or even seeing other people tic. Because Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder, it’s probable that tics originate in the brain. According to the National Institutes of Health article, “Basal ganglia dysfunction in Tourette’s syndrome: a new hypothesis,” Tourettes hypothesized to involve in the Basal Ganglia portion of the brain.

Is Tourettes About Cursing?

Despite the picture the media paints of typical Tourette Syndrome it’s estimated that only 5-15% of people with Tourette Syndrome have Coprolalia, or the version of Tourette Syndrome that involves cursing


Can’t You Just Stop?

Imagine you have a cold, the kind where you have that really annoying little cough, the kind that happens every 30 seconds. Now remember what it feels like to try and stop that cough. You might be able to suppress is for an minute, maybe two. But eventually, you’ll have to cough, and when you do, you’re going to have a coughing fit.

That’s exactly what it feels like to suppress ticcing. If I think about it, I can often suppress my tics (The length of time depends on how strong the tics are that day), but when I’m done, I’m going to pay for it afterward. Often when I get home or back in the car. So when people tell children with tics, “Can’t you just stop?!” there’s a good chance they probably can’t.


How is a Diagnosis Made?

The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) has recently changed it’s diagnostic requirements in its most recent edition. The Center of Disease Control’s article, “Diagnosing Tic Disorders,” says these are the requirements the DSM-V has for being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome:

The individual must have multiple motor and vocal tics (although the tics don’t have to be present at the same time).
The tics must be present for at least a year.
The tics must begin by the age of 18.
The tics cannot be due to medicine or other medical conditions, such as seizures


Do People Tic in Their Sleep?

I’ve never personally experienced tics (that I’m aware of) while sleeping, but that doesn’t mean they disappear at night for everyone. Rather, my problem is just getting to sleep. It’s like trying to fall asleep with a five-year-old poking you all over. An interesting fact from the National Institutes of Health is that around 80% of people with Tourettes are reported to have sleep disorders.


Is There a Cure for Tourettes?

There is no cure for Tourette Syndrome. Mayo Clinic’s article, “Tourette Syndrome: Definition,” works to remind people that while there’s no cure, the disorder doesn’t shorten the life span of the individual, nor do most people need treatment. In fact, the tics often lessen as teens grow into adults.


Do Tics Change or Stay the Same?

Tics wax and wane with time, wellness, stress, and whatever else the body decides to throw at the individual. (I’m personally sensitive to junk food.) Over the years, my tics have changed. Some of left and haven’t come back yet, while others come and go as they please. I develop new tics from time to time. (Sometimes, even on purpose!) While this can be frustrating because you never know what to expect, it can also be nice to know that when tics are bad, they’re probably not going to stay that way for too long.


Can People with Tourettes have More than One Disorder?

Along with my Tourettes, I have OCD tendencies and generalized anxiety. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell where one disorder stops and the next one starts because they share so many symptoms. Tourettes is often comorbid with other disorders. That means that this disorder is often present with at least one other disorder, or parts of it at least. The Psychiatric Times article, “Tourette Syndrome,” reports that individuals with Tourettes often have ADHD or OCD. (And many people have parts of all of both!)


Are There Ways to Lessen Tics?

There are a lot of ways to lessen tics! It’s important to have more than one method of reducing tics since tics are temperamental. Since tics are often so joined to stress and anxiety, some of the best ways to lessen the tics are to less than stress! Diet is important, as well. What you put into your brain is how well it’s going to perform! Also, physical activity has shown to have a great impact on lessening tics, and I can vouch for that! Finally, there is also MedicineNet. MedicineNet’s page , “How is Tourette Syndrome Treated,” does caution, however, that while there are drugs that can help soften Tourettes, there is no one-medicine-treats-all pill. Instead, doctors and patients have to work together to see what works best for that individual.


Other frequently asked questions:


Are you okay?

Are you cold?

Are you about to have a seizure attack?

Do you need me to call someone?

Why are you shaking so much?

Why are you making so much noises?

Are you cracking your neck?

Why are you shivering it is the summer…

Can you stop shaking?

What can you do to relieve it?

Are you stressed?

Are you embarrassed to go out in public?

What can you do normally?

Are you a post drug addict?

Do you workout a lot is that why you twitch?

Have you seen a doctor?

How can you get a job?

Can you cover your mouth? (Cough tic)