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Tourette's Disorder: Tic Triggers

Overview

Your child's tics related to Tourette syndrome may seem worse in certain situations or during times when your child experiences strong emotions. Common triggers include:

  • Stressful events, such as a family fight or poor performance at school.
  • Boredom, physical illness, or fatigue.
  • Anger or excitement. Difficulties with other kids can make your child angry or frustrated. Or your child may get flustered when eager for a fun event, such as a birthday party or vacation.

Your child's tics may decrease or be less severe when your child:

  • Gets enough sleep.
  • Becomes involved in new activities that are of great interest. Tics may improve while your child is focused on an activity as long as there is not a lot of surrounding stress or agitation from being overexcited.

Remember that tics related to TS also sometimes increase or decrease for no obvious reason.

Your child may also be able to hold back, or suppress, tics for a short time. Children may do this when they:

  • Are in a new place, such as at a new friend's house.
  • Are in a new situation, such as having someone new over for dinner.
  • Know that someone is watching for tics, such as a doctor.

After holding back tics, most children will soon have a short period afterward when tics are noticeably worse.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: December 13, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics

 

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