Types of Tic Disorders

Tourette Syndrome – For a diagnosis of TS there must be multiple motor tics, and at least one vocal tic, present for at least 12 months.

Transient Tic Disorder – Tics are usually confined to the face and neck and last no longer than 12 months.

Chronic Tic Disorder – Characterised by the presence of one or more long-lasting tics, either vocal or motor.

Tic Disorder (not specified) – Tics are present but do not meet the criteria for a specific tic disorder, they could be brought on by illness or medication.

Co-Morbid Conditions - People with Tourette Syndrome often present with co-occurring conditions such as, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit (hyperactivity) Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, social skills deficit, rage attacks, migraines, panic attacks, eye tracking problems.

Common Types of Tics

SIMPLE TICS - Tics involving only a few muscles or sounds that are not yet words

SIMPLE MOTOR – Tics involving muscle movement such as blinking, facial grimacing, rolling eyes, squinting, smacking/licking lips, sucking thumb/finger, flipping hair out of eyes, head turning, arm movements, chin to chest, tensing muscles, drumming fingers, flapping arms, kicking, tapping toes, cracking fingers/ankles etc, grinding teeth, clenching jaw.

SIMPLE VOCAL – Tics involving sounds such as throat clearing, grunting, spitting, coughing, humming, snorting, sniffing, yelling, squeaking, exaggerated breath sounds, whistling, belching, popping noises, clicking tongue, droning-continued tone.

COMPLEX TICS – Tics involving multiple groups of muscles or complete words or sentences

COMPLEX MOTOR - Pinching/poking, pulling clothes, fiddling with clothes, jumping, hopping, kissing others, freezing motion, multiple tics in motion, thrusting arms, legs, groin etc, tearing things into little pieces, throwing objects, spinning on the spot, rude gestures, bladder or bowel control problems.

COMPLEX VOCAL - Repeating words/phrases, repeating sounds, repeating part word phrases, animal sounds, stuttering, change of voice, muttering inaudible, talking in multiple character, calling out random words, imitating noises, singing, mumbling, growling, gagging, changing accents.

SELF-HARMING TICS – Picking at scabs/cuts, hitting oneself, throwing oneself on floor, pulling out hair, nails etc., punching objects.

MENTAL/THOUGHT TICS - These are often a result of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

INTRUSIVE WORDS – Thoughts, ideas or images (pleasant or scary), fears/phobias, thoughts constantly going to certain topics/ one track mind, negative thinking, thoughts of morbid, violent or sexual images – may be expressed verbally, written or depicted in artwork or doodles.

This list is not exhaustive and it is worth noting anything can be a tic.

Types of Complex Tics

COPROLALIA – Obscene words/phrases, racial slurs, derogatory statements, socially inappropriate speech i.e. yelling “fire” in public places.

COPRAXIA – Inappropriate touching self/others, touching private areas self/others, giving “the finger”, bumping into people, invading personal space.

ECHOLALIA – Echoing other’s words/phrases.

PALALALIA – Echoing own words/phrases.

COPROGRAPHIA – Socially inappropriate writing/drawing.