An informative Blog presenting a broad array of topics and issues relating to the science of psychology.
Suitable for professionals, students, and anyone who wishes to learn more about this fascinating science.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Onset, Course, and Intervention for Tic Disorders

There are a lot of developmental disorders one can discuss, but I have decided to bring the cluster of tic disorders to light. The disorder refers to tics in vocal or motor behaviors. Vocal tics refer to sudden involuntary sounds. Motor tics refer to sudden movements of certain parts of the body (face, shoulders, hands, legs, etc…) (Coffey, 2008). These movements cannot be controlled because they happen suddenly. The most common tic disorder is transient tic disorder. Other tic disorders include simple motor tics, complex motor tics, simple phonic tics, complex phonic tics, acute tic disorder, and Tourette’s disorder (Coffey, 2008).

The onset of these tic disorders is not clear. It was once thought that the cause of these disorders were emotional; but now researchers are incorporating biological, chemical, genetic, and environmental factors to understand why tic disorders occur (Robertson, 2010). Studies concerning the two neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine are being studied to see if they play a role in the development of tic disorders. Also, using Magnetic resonance imaging and functional Magnetic resonance imaging, physical abnormalities occurring in the brain are being evaluated in relation to onset of tic disorders. Other studies include genetic studies, natal studies, and gender studies.

The course of tic disorders depends on which type of tic disorder the patient is diagnosed with and how severe it is. For example, transient tics may come and go and may go away completely eventually. They may flare up during periods of anxiety or extreme stress. Other tics may not go away and may prove to be quite troublesome to the afflicted. Tics may increase with emotions such as anxiety, stress, or other high-energy emotions. The course of tic disorders is variable depending on the individual affected and sometimes may get better over time with or without the help of treatment or medication (Grossmann, 2004).

Interventions include a number of options. First, the affected must be fully evaluated to understand what type of tic disorder he or she is dealing with. This evaluation may involve pediatricians, neurologists, and even psychiatrists (Coffey, 2008). Education is also an important intervention for those affected by tics and their families since it is important that the affected not be punished for their disorder. Therapy is also another treatment option that may provide emotional support for the affected. Also, an appropriate consultation with the educational institution the affected is attending needs to be completed so that the child can have and appropriate education environment (Coffey, 2008). Other options include medications such as Clondine, Guanephezine, Pimozide, Fluphenazine, and Haloperidol (Grossmann, 2004). Also, antidepressants can be used to ease the anxiety of the patient with a tic disorder. Overall, as an individual matures, the nature of the tics seems to die down a bit.

In conclusion, tic disorders can be quite bothersome to many that are affected. The cause is still debated, although a number of different treatment options remain for the patient depending on their individual situation and symptoms.


Coffey, B. (2008). Tic Disorders. Retrieved from /facts_for_families/tic_disorders

Grossman, R. (2004). Tic Disorders: A Clear Practical Approach for Parents. Retrieved from

Robertson, W. C. (2010). Tourette Syndrome and Other Tic Disorders. Retrieved from