How are Tourette syndrome (TS) and other tic disorders differentiated from OCD?

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

Tic syndromes can nearly always be differentiated from uncomplicated OCD. Simple tics or pure obsessions are easily identified, and essentially all patients with chronic tics have simple tics at some point. However, because the definitions overlap, individual complex actions cannot always be labeled clearly as a tic rather than a compulsion.

Complex tics are generally preceded by sensory phenomena or occur without warning, whereas compulsions generally involve obsessive worries and themes of contamination or guilt. However, both can be associated with symmetry concerns or a need to repeat something until an ineffable sense of "getting it just right" is achieved. [145, 146]


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