Tic: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

A tic is a repetitive and spasmodic contraction of the muscles, usually of the face. It appears as an uncontrollable movement of the body and may be referred to as a twitch, spasm, motor tic, or jerk. Examples may include blinking the eyes, grimaces, grunts, groans, tongue clicking, throat clearing, or twitching the nose. Tics can also occur outside the facial muscles in the arms or legs, but this is less common. In contrast to motor tics described above, vocal tics are repeated sounds or words that occur without intention. Tics are more common in children than adults, and boys are more commonly affected than girls. Tics can be suppressed if a person concentrates on suppressing them, but this becomes increasingly difficult with time. Tics are a characteristic symptom of Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, but they may also occur due to other medical conditions.

Other causes of tic

  • Akathisia
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Chronic Tic Disorder
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Head Trauma
  • Medications
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1
  • Sydenham Chorea
  • Transient Tic Disorder
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Wilson Disease


The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: See Answer

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.