Although not formally considered an obsessive-compulsive or related disorder, tic disorders commonly co-occur with OCD and are also a focus of treatment at the Anxiety Center. Tic disorders can involve motor tics (i.e., eye blinking, neck and head movements, shoulder shrugging, movements of the hands, arms, and legs), vocal tics (i.e., throat clearing, sniffing, grunting, repeating words), or both.
There are several different types of tic disorders that vary depending on the types of tics that are present and how long they have lasted. For instance, Tourette’s Disorder involves the presence of both multiple motor tics, as well as at least one vocal tic, that have been persistent off an on for at least a year.
Some tics, called complex tics, involve a sequence of motor movements or sounds that can look like purposeful behaviors but are not under the person’s control. Additionally, some of these behaviors can look like OCD-related rituals and a careful assessment is often needed to determine whether the behaviors are tics, OCD, or some combination of both.
Tics typically start in childhood and the majority of people who experience tics in childhood will no longer have the symptoms by adulthood.