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General Practice 2023

Nervous tic: what é, causes, symptoms and treatment

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Nervous tic: what é, causes, symptoms and treatment
Nervous tic: what é, causes, symptoms and treatment
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Nervous tics correspond to motor or vocal action performed in a repetitive and involuntary way, such as blinking the eyes several times, moving the head or sniffing the nose, for example, which can be triggered by some everyday situations day, such as stress, anxiety and excessive tiredness, for example.

Tics usually appear in childhood and usually disappear without any treatment during adolescence or early adulthood.

Tics are not serious and, in most cases, do not interfere with day-to-day activities. However, when tics are more complex and occur more frequently, it is important to consult a neurologist or psychiatrist for the diagnosis, as it may be Tourette's Syndrome, for example.

Main symptoms

Nervous tics correspond to involuntary muscle contractions, more common in the face and neck, which can result in:

  • Eyes blinking repetitively;
  • Move the head, such as tilting it back and forth or sideways;
  • Biting lips or moving mouth;
  • Nose move;
  • Shrug;
  • Caretas.

In addition to motor tics, there may also be tics related to the emission of sounds, such as coughing, clicking the tongue and sniffing the nose, for example.

Tics are usually mild and not limiting, but there is still a lot of prejudice and unpleasant comments related to people with nervous tics, which can result in isolation, decrease in the affective circle, unwillingness to leave the house or doing activities that were once enjoyable and even depression.

What is the difference between tic disorder and Tourette's syndrome?

Compared to Tourette's syndrome, nervous tics are milder and more discreet, not having as much impact on the person's quality of life. Tourette's syndrome is characterized by more frequent and complex tics that can compromise the person's quality of life, as in addition to common tics, such as blinking, for example, there are also punches, kicks, buzzing, noisy breathing and chest beating., for example, all movements being performed involuntarily.

Many patients with the syndrome develop impulsive, aggressive and self-destructive behaviors, and children often have learning difficulties.

A child with Tourette Syndrome may repeatedly move their head from side to side, blink their eyes, open their mouth and extend their neck. The person may speak obscenities for no apparent reason, often in the middle of a conversation.Learn more about Tourette's syndrome.

Causes of tic disorder

The causes of nervous tics are still not well understood, but they usually occur as a consequence of excessive and frequent tiredness, stress and anxiety disorder. However, people who are under constant stress or feel anxious most of the time will not necessarily have the tics.

Some people believe that the occurrence of tics is related to a failure in one of the brain circuits due to genetic alterations, which causes greater production of dopamine, stimulating involuntary muscle contractions.

How to treat tic disorder

Nervous tics usually disappear during adolescence or early adulthood, and no treatment is required. However, it is recommended that the person undergo treatment for tics when they interfere with their daily activities, such as work and studies, for example, when there is discomfort, in the presence of emotional changes, such as depression or anxiety, or when tics interfere in social life.

Therefore, the use of adrenergic or antipsychotic drugs, such as clonididine, fluphenazine, risperidone or botulinum toxin, for example, may be indicated, which must be prescribed by the psychiatrist according to the type of tic, its severity and the symptoms present.

Psychotherapy is also indicated in the treatment of tics, the cognitive-behavioral technique being the most used through the "Exhaustive Behavioral Intervention for the Treatment of Tics" and the "Scandinavian Manual", and this therapy can be done in individually or in group sessions aimed at tolerating or inhibiting tic disorder.

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