Conditions that can cause Tics

Tourette Syndrome: Tourette's is a genetic neurological condition that can be diagnosed when a person has 2 motor tics and 1 vocal tic for at least a year, not necessarily at the same time. Tourette Syndrome is said to affect 1 in 100 people. Many people with Tourette's have OCD and/or ADHD.


The diagnostic criteria states that Tourette's can only be diagnosed if the onset is before age 18. However, there are cases of adult onset Tourette's, but these people may have had more subtle symptoms in childhood.


PANDAS/PANS: PANDAS is an autoimmune condition where a person gets a Streptococcal infection and the immune system attacks part of the brain called the Basal Ganglia instead of just the infection.


This can lead to symptoms such as severe OCD, tics, developmental regression, handwriting problems, personality changes, coordination problems, psychosis, dilated pupils, irritability, sleep disturbances, sensory processing issues and more.


Not everyone has every symptom and they can change over time. People can have flares when they have an infection where the symptoms get worse and people can develop new symptoms.


PANS is similar, but can have both infectious and non-infectious triggers. Infectious triggers for PANS can include Influenza, Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, Lyme Disease and more and non-infectious triggers could include metabolic issues and stress. Not everyone with PANDAS/PANS has tics, but most people do. Both motor and vocal tics can occur in PANDAS/PANS. Coprolalia can also occur in PANDAS/PANS.



Chronic Vocal Tic Disorder: This is where people have vocal tics for at least a year, but have no motor tics.


Chronic Motor Tic Disorder: This is where people have motor tics for at least a year, but have no vocal tics.


Provisional Tic Disorder: This is where people have motor and vocal tics for less than a year.


Functional Movement Disorder: This is where people experience involuntary movements and movement problems that are due to an issue with the way the brain is functioning instead of a structural difference in the brain. Functional movements can also be known as psychogenic movements. Functional / psychogenic tics cannot be suppressed and have no premonitory urge (sensation) before them, whereas tics from the other conditions usually have an urge and can sometimes be temporarily suppressed.


Tourettism: This is a term used for Tourette's-like symptoms that arise from secondary causes, not from Tourette Syndrome. The causes of Tourettism can include medication (developed as a side effect), a brain injury and other things.