A tic is the sudden, random, repetitive movement or involuntary vocalization that people make due to an environmental trigger or emotional distress. These sounds and movements are difficult for the patient to control and are more like a sneeze, as they occur abruptly and randomly.
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Based on various observations, it is now emerging that people with ADHD are more likely to experience tics, hence the phrase ADHD tics. In fact, tics are a symptom of ADHD, especially in children. Children with ADHD may squirm, fidget, or even make random noises for no apparent reason. These sounds and movements can occur throughout the day and can increase when the patient is excited, anxious, or stressed.
What are the characteristics of ADHD tics?
ADHD tics are the sudden, repetitive movements and vocalizations that ADHD patients make involuntarily when they are stressed, anxious, or in response to environmental triggers. The tics of ADHD are similar to other tics caused by other conditions such as Tourette syndrome, OCD, and ASD. They are usually characterized by manifestations of multiple motor and vocal tics.
What Causes ADHD Tics?
The main causes of ADHD tics remain unknown. Also, some of the perceived causes vary from patient to patient. These are some of the risk factors that could influence the appearance of ADHD tics.
- Sleep deprivation
- Physical illness
- Traumatic events
Scientists previously believed that tics were a side effect of ADHD medications, but recent studies confirm that this is not the case. ADHD medication does not induce tics in patients.
Can ADHD cause tics?
ADHD itself does not cause tics, but ADHD patients are more likely to experience tics. In any case, many people with ADHD have other conditions like Tourette syndrome and ASD that cause tics. For this reason, many people assume that ADHD is the cause of these involuntary movements and sounds.
Also, tics are a symptom of ADHD and other similar conditions and do not last more than a year. If your child has tics very frequently every day and the condition lasts for more than a year, you should take him for a medical check-up to rule out conditions like Tourette syndrome.
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Can untreated ADHD cause tics?
Untreated ADHD does not cause tics. Children with ADHD are more likely to have tics, but most of them outgrow the condition with treatment or on their own, depending on the severity of the disorder.
The only concern is that if ADHD is not treated, the condition can have long-lasting negative consequences on the patient’s daily functioning. Untreated ADHD can affect emotional regulation, impulse control, and social skills. In adults, untreated ADHD can affect concentration, marital satisfaction, and job performance.
What are the symptoms of ADHD tics?
Symptoms of ADHD tics vary from person to person and the severity of the condition. However, the most common symptoms include:
- Eye blink
- Repeated head movements
- Shrugging shoulders
- Repeat words, sounds, or phrases.
- Facial expressions
- Constant grunting
- Rolling eyes
- Make silly faces
- Touching objects or people
There is a strong link between ADHD and tics since people with ADHD are more likely to have conditions that cause tics. Also, tics are among the symptoms of ADHD. People with ADHD tend to experience sudden random movements and make loud involuntary sounds for no apparent reason. Patients may have episodes of repeated head spasms, blinking, coughing, and sniffing.
Despite the strong connection between ADHD and tics, ADHD does not cause tics. Apparently, tics can come and go with age, and many ADHD patients outgrow the condition later in life. If the condition doesn’t go away over time, then your doctor might consider prescribing non-stimulant ADHD medications to help manage the condition. Some common non-stimulants prescribed for ADHD tics are clonidine and guanfacine.
Stimulant medications may or may not reduce the symptoms of uncontrolled tics. Taking stimulants can make tics appear or worsen in some patients, while it can help with tic disorders in other patients.
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How common are tic disorders?
Tic disorders normally occur in about 20% of children with ADHD and about 50% of adults with ADHD have chronic tics. According to research, one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 is likely to develop a tic disorder regardless of whether or not they have ADHD. Because tics are genetic, children with tics come from families in which one or two members have the condition.
What can you do about ADHD and tics?
While some tic disorders go away on their own, some patients may require additional treatment to control the condition. Talking with a healthcare professional can help you determine the right treatment for you. Some of the most recommended treatment methods for ADHD tics include:
- Behavior therapy – habit reversal therapy and exposure-response prevention
- Non-stimulant medications
Although the tics of ADHD are involuntary and the patient has no control over the disorder, they are easily manageable as long as they seek treatment from the right professionals. EzCare Medical Clinic is here to help you find the right treatment for ADHD tics. We have a team of competent, approachable, and compassionate professionals who are ready to serve your needs.
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