Q. My daughter has a tic disorder with six tics. Is it normal to have so many tics?

Answered by
Dr. Gursimran Singh
and medically reviewed by Dr. Preetha J
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 25, 2020 and last reviewed on: Nov 02, 2020

Hi doctor,

My 13-year-old daughter developed a tic for about a month. And it started with a shoulder shrug (one side, left shoulder) and has progressed to several upper body tics. About six tics (head jerking, shoulder shrug, arm jerk or extending, hand hitting thigh, hand hitting chest, and hand flap). Three vocal tics (clicking, “oooh” sound, “do you want some nickels?”). They happen daily; throughout the day. They do not interfere with her sleep. However, they do interfere with daily activities such as school and homework. I have noticed they are worse in stressful situations or when she is tired. The neurologist diagnosed her with tic disorder and prescribed medication. She had an EEG, which was normal. Is it typical for a child to develop tics as a teenager? Is it normal to have so many (more than five) develop in a short time? We were not given a reason or cause for the tics. Instead, the neurologist told us about 5% of children develop a tic, and of those 5%, 60-65% will stop having them before they are adults. Her neurologist prescribed Risperdal; however, she has not started it yet. Should we get a second opinion, or does this seem like an acceptable explanation?



Welcome to

I understand the situation, and I am sorry for her to face this situation. Yes, the prime age of a child developing tic disorder is 11 to 13 years. Usually, tic disorder has comorbid conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Usually, the tic resolves until adulthood, and the most common treatment is suggested habit reversal training with comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT). When CBIT is not an option, we suggest treatment with Tetrabenazine; alternatives include Fluphenazine or Risperidone. Do you wish to ask something else? Please feel free to ask.

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