Nervous Twitches or Tics

Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, meaningless movements that usually involve only one group of muscles, such as eye blinking, head jerking or shoulder shrugging.  Motor  tics can be of an endless variety and may include such movements as hand clapping, neck stretching, mouth movements, head, arm or leg jerks, and facial grimacing. A simple phonic tic can be almost any sound or noise, with common vocal tics being throat clearing, sniffing, or grunting.

Complex motor tics are typically more purposeful-appearing and of a longer nature.  They may involve a cluster of movements and appear coordinated.  Examples of complex motor tics are pulling at clothes, touching people or touching objects.

Complex phonic tics may fall into various categories, including repeating words just spoken by someone else, repeating one’s own previously spoken words, repeating words after reading them and the spontaneous utterance of socially objectionable or taboo works or phrases, ‘Coprolalia’ which is a highly publicised symptom of Tourette Syndrome. However, only about 10% of Tourette Syndrome patients exhibit coprolalia. 

man looking at phone

Complex tics are rarely seen in the absence of simple tics.  Tics “may be challenging to differentiate from compulsions”, as in the case of compulsive shouting. Hypnotherapy can be extremely effective in the treatment of these disorders.

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