Tic: the symptoms

The symptoms of tics can be very different from one person to another.

There are two main types of tics:

  • Simple muscular tics: they can interest the face (blinking of the eyes, contractions of the mouth), the head, the trunk or limbs (shaking of the head, shoulders or more often of the upper limbs). More rare are the respiratory tics (sniffing, coughing) or phonatory (emission of a noise or an animal cry).
  • Complex tics: these are "caricatures of gestures" such as head movements or jumps. They can perform gestures with symbolic meaning such as obscene gestures for example. A special case of complex tics is Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome.

The symptoms of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome begin between the age of two and adolescence. This disease is defined by multiple tics associated with the emission of coarse phrases or words (coprolalia) and echolalia (automatic, immediate and faithful repetition of the last words or last sentences of the interlocutor, often with the same intonation). In severe cases, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome can be accompanied by self-injurious tics, such as bumping one's head.

The evolution of tics is variable. They disappear spontaneously after several years in about half of the patients. But in some patients, multiple tics will associate or succeed each other over time, and can have very negative repercussions on the subject and his family.

Some locations of tics can be responsible for sometimes serious complications because they represent real self-injury: repeated bite of the lips, tongue, fingers or wounds in the limbs due to repeated clashes.

The symptoms of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome evolve with fluctuations. But overall, they get progressively worse by extending to other muscle groups.

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