Tic Disorders

Tics are sudden, recurrent, motor movements or vocalizations. It is estimated that tics occur in about .6% of the population with tics being more common among children and adolescents.

There are two categories of Tic Disorders: (a) motor tics; and (b) vocal tics. People may struggle with one or the other or some combination of both.

Motor tics consist of 2 types:

  • simple (i.e. eye blinking, nose wrinkling, head twitching, lip licking, lip biting, facial grimacing)
  • complex (i.e. standing up and sitting down, touching objects, jumping, spinning). 

Vocal tics may be:

  • simple (e.g., inarticulate noises or sounds) 
  • complex(e.g., sounds that have meaning, such as words, partial words, phrases, changing sound or pitch of speech, etc.)

Behavior therapy is the most effective treatment for Tic Disorders and may include Habit Reversal Training or  Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT). Through behavior therapy, people learn to replace the tic with a competing response. For example, an individual with a head jerk tic might practice tightening their neck muscles and moving their chin downward (competing response) whenever they experience an urge to engage in the tic. Through practice and the coaching of a skilled therapist, people learn to greatly reduce the frequency of their tics.

If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of Tic Disorder, there is help available.  Feel free to contact us at the Portland Psychotherapy Anxiety Clinic to find out about treatment.

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