Many people at some point experience spasm-like movements of particular muscles. These movements, referred to as tics and twitches, often affect the eyelids or face. They can, though, occur anywhere in the body.
In most instances, tics and twitches are harmless and temporary. In some cases, though, they'll be caused by a tic disorder. Tic disorders generally are often managed with treatment and lifestyle changes.
What Are Tics and Twitches?
While many of us use the terms tic and twitch interchangeably, there are differences between these two sorts of movements.
Tics. There are two sorts of tics -- motor tics and vocal tics. These short-lasting sudden movements (motor tics) or uttered sounds (vocal tics) occur suddenly during what's otherwise normal behavior. Tics are often repetitive, with numerous successive occurrences of an equivalent action. For instance, someone with a tic might blink his eyes multiple times or twitch her nose repeatedly.
Motor tics are often classified as either simple or complex. Simple motor tics may include movements like eye-blinking, nose-twitching, head-jerking, or shoulder-shrugging. Complex motor tics contains a series of movements performed within the same order. For instance an individual might reach out and touch something repeatedly or kick out with one leg then the opposite.
Tics are often classified not as involuntary movements but as unvoluntary movements. This means that folks are ready to suppress the actions for a time. The suppression, though, leads to discomfort that grows until it's relieved by performing the tic.
While people of all ages can experience tics, they're most prevalent in children. Experts say that around 25% of youngsters experience tics. And tics are much more likely to affect boys than girls.
No one knows exactly what causes tics to occur. Stress and sleep deprivation seem to play a task in both the occurrence and severity of motor tics.
What Are the Common Tic Disorders?
The majority of tics are not severe. So they have very little effect on a person's quality of life. In some instances, though, tics may occur often enough to be disruptive and troubling. When they do, they can affect many areas of a person's life, including school, work, and social life.
Doctors use four characteristics to spot and diagnose tic disorders:
Ø The age when tics began
Ø Duration of the tics
Ø Severity of the tics
Ø Whether tics are motor or vocal or both
Transient tic disorder - This disorder most commonly appears in youth. It affects between 5% and 25% of school-age children. Transient tic disorder is characterized by the presence of 1 or more tics for a minimum of one month but but one year. The majority of tics seen during this disorder are motor tics, though vocal tics can also be present.
Many children with the disorder experience multiple episodes of the transient tics, which can vary in how they manifest over time.
Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder - While transient tics disappear within a year, chronic tics can last for a year or more. Chronic tic disorder is characterized by the presence of 1 or more long-lasting tics. They may be either motor or vocal, but not both. For a diagnosis of chronic tic disorder, symptoms must begin before age 18.
Chronic tics occur in but one in 100 children - Tourette's syndrome. In some instances, what appears to be a chronic tic could also be a symbol of Tourette's syndrome . This syndrome is the most severe tic disorder. It is characterized by the presence of both motor tics and vocal tics.
Since many people with the disorder have not been diagnosed, it is unknown exactly how many people in the U.S. are living with Tourette's syndrome. Experts estimate that around 200,000 people in the U.S. have the condition. Symptoms typically begin when children are between ages 5 and 18 years.
The severity of Tourette's syndrome often changes over time. There could also be periods of reduced tic frequency followed by heightened tic activity. Fortunately, many people with Tourette's syndrome find that their condition improves as they get older.
How Are Tic Disorders Treated?
The treatment for tic disorders depends on the severity of the condition. In many instances, no treatment is required and therefore the tics will resolve on their own.
In other cases, doctors may prescribe behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Behavioral therapy helps people learn to manage their tic symptoms and reduce tic frequency. Medications are typically wont to reduce tic frequency and enhance an individual's lifestyle . This usually doesn't end in the entire remission of tic symptoms.
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