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Transient tic disorder

Definition

Transient tic disorder is a temporary condition in which a person makes one or many brief, repeated, difficult to control movements or noises (tics).

Alternative Names

Tic - transient tic disorder

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Transient tic disorder is common in children.

The cause of transient tic disorder can be physical or mental (psychological). It may be a mild form of Tourette syndrome .

Symptoms

The child may have facial tics or tics involving movement of the arms, legs, or other areas.

Tics may involve:

  • Movements that occur again and again and do not have a rhythm
  • An overwhelming urge to make the movement
  • Brief and jerky movements that include the following:

The tics often look like nervous behavior. Tics appear to get worse with stress and do not occur during sleep.

Sounds may also occur, such as:

  • Clicking
  • Grunting
  • Hissing
  • Moaning
  • Sniffing
  • Snorting
  • Squealing
  • Throat clearing

Signs and tests

The health care provider should consider physical causes of transient tic disorder before making a diagnosis.

In order to be diagnosed with transient tic disorder, the child must have had tics almost every day for at least 4 weeks, but less than a year.

Other disorders such as anxiety, attention deficit disorder, myoclonus, obsessive-compulsive disorder, epilepsy, and focal dystonia, may need to be ruled out.

Treatment

Health care providers recommend that family members do NOT call attention to the tics at first, because unwanted attention may make the tics worse. If tics are severe enough to cause problems in school or work, behavioral techniques and medications may help.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Simple childhood tics usually disappear over a period of months.

Complications

There are usually no complications. A chronic motor or vocal tic disorder can develop.

Calling your health care provider

Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about a transient tic disorder, especially if it continues or disrupts your child's life. If you are not sure whether the movements are a tic or a seizure , call your health care provider right away.

Prevention

References

Jankovic J, Lang AE. Movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 21.

Ryan CA, Gosselin GJ, DeMaso DR. Habit and tic disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al., eds. . 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 22.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.