Tics and Twitches

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MindEd provides free mental health e-learning for anyone who works or volunteers with children, teenagers or young people. The MindEd programme includes free online CAMHS training, counselling courses and mental health resources for teachers and health professionals.

This session covers tics and related behaviours, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome in children and teenagers.

  • Motor tics occur in up to 20% of children as a developmental phase but usually do not last longer than a year.
  • Gilles-de-la-Tourette's syndrome (GTS) is diagnosed when there are several motor tics and at least one vocal tic that have been present for more than a year.
  • GTS occurs in around 1% of school-aged children.
  • Tics usually appear around the age of 5-7 years, increasing in severity up until the age of 10-12 years after which they start to reduce, meaning less tics in teenagers.
  • No one cause has been found for GTS but the major contributing factors include genetics and pre- and peri-natal difficulties.
  • Only 10% of patients have 'pure GTS'; 90% of patients will commonly experience comorbid conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)/obsessive-compulsive behaviour (OCB) or associated features such as depression and anxiety.
  • Psycho-education is an important part of any treatment plan, no matter how severe the symptoms of GTS.

Access the full MindEd session here.
Content provided by MindEd. Author: . Published: March 2014. Review: March 2017.

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Document ID:
29131 (v2)
Last Checked:
09 February 2016
Next Review:
08 February 2019

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