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Tic and Tourette Syndrome

Motor tics are repetitive, usually quick movements that can usually be suppressed by the person who has them, at least for a few seconds. They are not a nervous habit, but are believed to be neurological in their origin. Tourette syndrome is the name applied when motor tics associated with vocal tics (such as throat clearing, or uttering words or fragments of words) begin in childhood, last longer than a year, and change over time. Most people who have Tourette syndrome do not have the famous symptom of uttering obscenities.

Tic is common, particularly in childhood, and may improve or cease altogether as one grows older. Occasionally it is sufficiently troubling that medication is warranted. Teasing from other children, or misunderstanding and criticism from parents and teachers are sometimes more problematic than the tic itself.