What are the signs and symptoms of Tourette syndrome (TS)?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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Answer

Tics are abnormal movements or vocalizations that are diverse in presentation. They can be categorized as either motor or vocal/phonic and simple or complex.

Simple motor tics involve a single muscle or group of muscles. Examples of simple motor tics include eye blinking, nose sniffing, coughing, neck twitching or jerking, eye rolling, and jerking or postured movements of the extremities.

Complex motor tics involve movements that often involve multiple muscle groups and may appear as semipurposeful movements or behaviors. Examples of complex motor tics include touching oneself or others, hitting, jumping, shaking, or performing a simulated motor task.

Simple phonic tics are simple vocalizations or sounds. Examples include grunting, coughing, throat clearing, swallowing, blowing, or sucking sounds.

Complex phonic tics are vocalizations of words and/or complex phrases. These verbalizations can be complex and sometimes socially inappropriate.

Behavioral symptoms are common in Tourette syndrome. The 2 most common disorders are OCD and ADHD.

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.


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