Facts about Tics

1. People may not tic all the time. It is possible for some people to go hours, days or maybe even weeks without ticcing. Other people may have tics that are more constant. 

2. Many people get a strong uncomfortable sensation before they tic. This is called a premonitory urge.

3. Some people can hold in their tics for a certain period of time, but this should not be encouraged as it can lead to rebounds of more severe tics later on and can trigger rage attacks and exacerbate OCD symptoms.

4. Vocal tics do not have volume control, so telling someone to tic quieter may not be helpful. In fact, it can make it worse as it is focusing on the tic.

5. Tics can include obscene and socially inappropriate words and phrases. This may cause alarm, but it is just like any other tic. All tics are unintentional so whether it is a socially inappropriate tic or not, it has no meaning behind it. The obscene tics are called coprolalia, not everyone has this, but for those who do it can be socially isolating due to other people's reactions.

6. We do not chose what we tic, they are unintentional and they are just misfired signals from the brain. We do not mean it if we tic something upsetting.

7. Tics can be quite extreme, some people may have complex tics that are contextual. Some people may have ritualistic complex tics, some people may throw things or say long phrases with multiple sentences. Some people may have impulsive tics where they do something suddenly that may have bad consequences. Some people may pour flour over their heads or put something on their head. I have seen people being accused of faking due to their extreme and complex tics, but the truth is that tics can look like this. The brain is incredibly complex and almost anything the human body can do has the potential to become a tic.

8. When people with tics see others tic, the tics can temporarily get worse. People can pick up tics from others, sometimes this is termed a 'tic swap', but the benefits of meeting others with tics often far outweigh the fact that the tics can temporarily get worse.