View Full Version : Is this a habit or is it Tourettes Syndrome (TS)?

08-23-04, 11:02 PM
Ok this is the first time I've actually been here. And my main question I guess is whether tics can be explained by anything else. I have had this nose twitch ever since I was about 8 years old. My mum and my GP at the time kept telling me it was a habit andI had to break it. And I have tried so hard for my entire life. But I would imagine that if it's a habit I still haven't broken at age 22 then it has to be more than that. I have had other ones where I roll my eyes or blink a lot or push down my top lip and click my jaw, and make these little squeaks that I can manage to keep soft so no onecan ofteb hear them. I cannot keep my hands still and have consistently been in trouble for breaking ever pen in the house etc by fiddling.

I was recently on placement for uni (I am studying social work) and found in a kid's file an information sheet about tourettes and was amazed at how much it all sounded like me. Except for the fact that my tics are small. But they are certainly not decreasing. I offered this possibility of somekind of tic disorder to my mum and the doctor she works for but they both just laughed at me(he doesn't really know my history though) so now I am kind of weary of going to another health professional about it. Maybe I am just scared. I am just wondering if these tics can be explained by some kind of "habit" so I don't feel like an idiot when that's what the next doctor tells me as well...

08-23-04, 11:44 PM
Hi aularian and welcome to forums!

I doubt very seriously what you are doing is a habit. However, tics can manifest in other disorders than Tourettes Syndrome. Such as Hungtington disease, Primary dystonia, Neuroacanthocytosis, Hallervodorden-Spatz, Tuberous sclerosis, Wilson disease, and duchenne=s musclular dystrophy.

There are secondary causes of tics as well
Infections, medications, tonixns, chromosomal disorders, head trauma, stroke, schizophrenia and so much more.

I realize these are very big words.........however, a lot people usually realize they have Tourettes by seeing about it on TV or finding out they have a child that has it or as in your case, a childs file.

In a personal perspective, if I found out something like you have discovered, I would want to know what was up. No matter the reason for the tics, even if it is a habit as you say, please do not call yourself an idiot.....You have heard the comment before no question is stupid!

My suggestion to you is to seek out a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders for a proper diagnosis. From your description you are having both vocal and motor tics which you have had fore more than one year prior to the age of 18 years old. Your tics do not sound severe and not as if they are distressing you in anyway. But in speaking for myself, I am a why person.....I would want to know what is up with this?

Keep in touch and lets us know and feel free to ask any questions.


08-24-04, 12:51 AM
Welcome here! I say like Sherry, go to a doc who knows movement disorders. Don't be surprised if your tics disapear when you're there, for many ppl tics just vanish when you enter the doc's room. If you're too shy/afraid/paniced to talk, write down everything you want to say on a paper and give it to him.

My mom's expression was somewhat the same. She wasn't there with me but she found out after I've got my dx. And she laughed, then se stared intensly at me and said "If YOU have tourette's, It must be very mild and hidden somewhere all the time because I've not seen any of it." THEN she was angry because the doc didn't want to talk to her earlier. :o My doc told me "You have tics." the second time I was there. And I thought I had hidden them from him... :p

Tics are pretty normal to have. Go drink some coffe out doors and study ppl that passes you on the street. Most ppl have some kind of habit or tic they do, of why not look at your co workers. I think Sherry wrote down som many good different reasons for tics, I don't have much to add to that :)

08-24-04, 04:35 AM
Could cartainly be tics, whether it's TS or not depends on the severity and longetivity of the tics etc.

08-24-04, 10:35 AM
Hi and thanks for your replies. I looked up those other things you mentioned energizer bunny and thankfully none of them really sound anything like me. I think when I read about tic disorders I was just so relieved because of how much it described me to almost the last detail. I never imagined with anything like Tourettes that you would be able to suppress your tics and control them and I always figured that because I could (but not for long) that that wasn't me. Then I read on a website about it building up inside and you have to eventually get it out (like a sneeze) and I suppose that described me and made me think it could be tics and not just a habits. I have begun to master the art of turning one into another that is smaller and less noticable which is nice.

I guess my main fear about going to the doctor about it is firstly, that it is something I have always been so embarrassed about I don't know how to talk about it and I always avoid the topic when someone comments on it. I also know that they will disappear when I walk on in there because I think that is what happened to me when I was younger which is perhaps why my doctor never really picked up on it, and whenever people tell me or ask me to do it all of a sudden I can't any more. And the main thing is that still being in my mum's health fund I will have to tell her before I go to any appointments and I know she thinks it is all stupid and I just don't want to argue or even talk to her about this until I know for sure what it is.

Anyway I have an appointment at my GP tomorrow for another reason so maybe I will just try and brave it and ask him what he thinks. I am seeing a neurologist who specialises in vertigo in a couple of months for the first time for these dizziness problems I have been having. I know he doesn't specialise in movement disorders but I suppose he would still have knowledge of it. Maybe I will ask then. Again the problem arises about my mum probably coming with me to this appointment. Because I hate to talk about it so much she has no idea how much it actually bothers me so maybe I will just attempt to explain it to her. Anyway that's my story, I'll let you know how it goes.

08-24-04, 05:46 PM
Why can't you see the doc alone?

One thing I did to make sure I was relaxed enough when I saw my doc was that I came in 1-2 hours too early and sat down waiting for my turn. In one hour you'll absolutely start ticking. I was sitting there ticking on the sofa and reading a paper or playing a game on my cellphone. I think that's when he saw my tics, but when I thought I was alone I just let it all come as they are. But I had pretty obvious tics at that time, I clapped my hands, jerked my head and arm, grunted, jumped, whistled and twitched my entire body. I've had complete body jolts too a couple of times. THAT was scary! But I do know how to control them when I know ppl are watching.

If you can get the doc to make you think about something else, to relaxe, I think your tics will appear in there too. Start joking with him. Nothing is more relaxing than laughter ;)

08-24-04, 06:14 PM
Another idea is to videotape yourself, tics & all. I don't know if the doctor would be agreeable to the videotape, but if you left it with him, I think he'd probably watch it just out of curiousity --even if he told you he didn't want to look at it.

Maybe you could have yoy mom watch it too ...and as she's watching it, you could explain how you feel about having tics. Maybe then she could see how it is affecting you and will realize that, for your own peace of mind, you need to know why you have the tics.

08-25-04, 12:18 AM
I taped myself but stupid me looked at the tape alone and thought "MY GOD how embarassing!" and deleted it all.... Luckily my doc saw my tics anyways but "live" :p One idea is to ask a friend or someone videotape you when you don't know, tics might disappear if you know someone's watching you. :)

09-22-04, 12:59 AM
Just out of interest, I finally braved it and went to the doctor. She was lovely and really seemed to think that I had some basis for my suspicion that I have more than just "habits". So she referred me to a neuropsychiatrist who has experience with tics and tourettes. Now I just have to wait 2 months to see him...

09-22-04, 02:22 PM
Congratulations to you! The hardest part, the first step, is already done! :D I hope it all will go well when you see your new doc. Good idea is still to tape yourself or ask one of your friends to go there with you to make you more comfortable. Otherwise the new doc might not see anything "suspicious" about you if you get nervous. That's what happened to me.

09-24-04, 09:57 PM
Well I am glad you found a doc to go to. My experience though was different on the first visit because my tics were so bad. Also because the doctor talked to me long enough that there was no way in the world I could surpress my tics. If you are there long enough, they will come out.

09-25-04, 07:56 AM
Yes, I agree to that, but my first doc didn't have much time and was somewhat stressed. One hour and no more for the first visit. Also I DID tic when he turned his back to me, to release some. But I COULDN'T do it when he was looking. Impossible. Also when my second doc asked me to imitate one of my tics, I felt like a moran and didn't do the movement right. But he knew more about ts than the first doc :p

09-25-04, 08:42 AM
A doctor asked you to imitate a tic........oh my gosh.....when I first tried to do that, I couldn't. I now have gotten where I can and as soon as I do, I start ticking.

I also felt strange when they video taped me. I was trying to hold back my tics and they told me not to and that they needed to see it.

09-26-04, 08:48 PM
*g* I've seen pictures from me as a kid, I do grimages on almost all pictures and do strange things with my arms/hands, luckily they weren't VIDEO tapes *lol* What I remember from being a kid that everytime we were going to take pictures I always was told to "look normal". "Why can't you for ONE minute act and look normal???!" was what my ignorant parents told me every time. :rolleyes:

I still have a hard time ticking infront of ppl I don't know, or ppl that don't know I have ts. Instead I go round stiff and it looks like I'm very "macho" from time to time :D *g* I did tic on webcam when I chatted with a friend. She knows I have ts. She got very bothered after a while and asked if I was in a hurry or thought she was boring... I didn't know what she was talking about. "But you're constantly looking att your watch!" I don't own a watch. i told her it was my tics she saw... i forgot all about the cam! :D :D

10-02-04, 01:06 PM

I learned to take a new perspective on everthing and it helps me and that is that I am normal and everyone else isn't. We are very unique indivudals and unique is a good thing. Normal basically means "neuro typical" But then it boils down to what is normal in what culture may not be normal in another culture. And what is normal in one family based on how they were raised, may not seem normal for another family.

11-22-04, 10:29 PM
I just thought I'd post here in case anyone was interested. After a few months of waiting I finally saw the neuropsychiatrist this morning. He confirmed that I do actually have tourettes, but a mild version, in that my tics are frequent but not too severe.

But then that was it. It was like "see you later, thanks for coming". After asking me all of these questions and delving into all of these other surrounding aspects of it, there was nothing else. I don't really know what I expected. I suppose all I wanted was an answer. He said he would rather not put me on medication, which I was totally happy about. But then that's it and now I can just forget about it? No advice or anything. "Do some kind of anxiety management". Like that's what I waited for my whole life to hear. I have a name for it now but everything else is exactly the same.

Ok end of rant. Time to get on with life.

11-22-04, 11:06 PM
Hi I'm learning a little about tourettes due to my 10 yr old's recent dx.

What I've heard from Pdoc is that sometimes tourettes starts up around age 10 and (sometimes) goes away around age 24. Some people just learn to disguise them and the more you learn about tics/tourettes the more you DO start seeing other people tic-ing.

I know what you mean about 'is that all there is' I expected a definite plan of action, let's treat this as soon as we have a dx. But especially with kids, I'm learning if you can just deal with your tics and still function it's better to do so without the meds.
Because there is some chance of permanent side affects with taking of anti-tic meds I'm truly hoping we will be able to manage my son's without.

Stress does increase the tics but not excitement, I still find that interesting.

Best of luck to you keep us posted!