Tics disorders

Diagnosis and treatment

A tic is a sudden, rapid, monrhythmic, recurrent vocalization or movement. Tics can be simple (if they last less than one second), or complex (if they last more than one second). Even though they are perceived as involuntary, they can be voluntarily suppressed during short periods of time.

Some examples of vocal tics could be: Sniffing, coughing, grunting, repeating words or throat clearing. Examples of motor tics could be: eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, neck movements…

From the most to the least severe, we distinguish the following:

Tourette’s syndrome: It involves the existence of both multiple motor and vocal tics, which may wax and wane but are present for at least one year, onset being before age 18. Although both types of tics (motor and vocal) have to be present, they are not necessarily concurrent.

Persistent (chronic) Motor or Vocal Tic Disorder: It is similar to Tourette’s, but in this case there’s only one type of tics: either vocal tics or motor tics.

Provisional Tic Disorder: When the duration of the tics is less than a year.

Several drugs have proved to be effective in diminishing or even suppressing tics.