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What are tics?

Tics are involuntary movements or vocalizations that are usually sudden onset, brief, repetitive, stereotyped but non-rhythmical in character. There is usually a premonitory sensation or build up sensation to perform the specific movement, and tics usually are associated with the sensation of relief once performed.

A tic is a sudden, repetitive movement or sound that someone makes. Tics are difficult to control. Common motor tics include shoulder shrugging, eye blinking and facial grimacing. Common vocal tics include throat clearing, coughing and sniffing.

Tics are involuntary muscle movements that happen suddenly and repeatedly. They range from small twitches to large, uncontrolled movements, and can also include sounds or complete words or sentences. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there are three main types of tic disorders. These include Tourette syndrome, provisional tic disorders and persistent tic disorders. To be diagnosed with Tourette's, a person must have both movement (motor) and sound (vocal) tics. People with provisional and persistent tics have only movement or sound tics, but not both. Provisional means symptoms have occurred for less than one year. Persistent means symptoms have occurred for at least one year. Some examples of tics include head twitching, lip biting, kicking, jumping, constant throat clearing, coughing, sniffing and hissing.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.