Nov 4, 2012

Tics in teenagers

Category: Teens
Posted By: Grace

Question: My daughter is almost sixteen and recently has developed a tic. This is quite severe and her whole body spasms. This only happens once each time and is quick and not prolonged.  She also seems to cough, it's not natural but forced like she is clearing her throat.

I have monitored this over the last couple of months and the body tics seem to be triggered by noises she finds irritating, such as teeth sucking or lip smacking in others. It also seems to worsen when she is tired.

She is extremely intelligent and has no other issues.  Is this something I need to worry about?



Answer: Hi Grace, Thanks for your question.  It is a bit of a puzzle.  16 is too late in life to develop some of the very common difficulties that are associated with tics such as Tourette’s or autism so I don’t think you need to worry about either of those.  Childhood tics can be very common, but again usually appearing much earlier than 16 and having resolved by this age.

My very first advice would be to go to your GP and rule out any physiological causes for the spasms and coughing.  As long as that has been ruled out I would imagine that the difficult is due to anxiety of some sort.  I would recommend seeking some psychological support for this as it is a little unusual and it does sound as if the spasm is quite severe.

I would also recommend talking to your daughter about it and any ideas she may have as to what is causing the problem.

I hope that is of help to you.  I wish you all luck in sorting things out,




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