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Transient Tic Disorder

A tic is a problem in which a part of the body moves repeatedly, quickly, suddenly and uncontrollably. Tics can occur in any body part, such as the face, shoulders, hands or legs.

Sounds that are made involuntarily (such as throat clearing) are called vocal tics. Most tics are mild and hardly noticeable. However, in some cases they are frequent and severe, and can affect many areas of a child's life.

The patient has vocal or motor tics,or both. They can be single or multiple.

For at least 4 weeks but no longer than 12 consecutive months, these tics have occurred many times each day, nearly every day.

These symptoms cause marked distress or materially impair work, social or personal functioning.

They began before age 18.

The symptoms are not directly caused by a general medical condition (such as Huntington's disease or a postviral encephalitis) or to substance use (such as a CNS stimulant).

The patient has never fulfilled criteria for Tourette's Disorder or Chronic Motor or Vocal Tic Disorder.

Associated Features

Dysarthria/Involuntary Movement
Depressed Mood

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic, attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis. In Tourette's Disorder and Chronic Motor or Vocal Tic Disorder, the duration of the disturbance is at least one year


Transient tic disorder is common in children. Five to twenty four percent of all school age children have had tics at some stage during this period. The cause of transient tic disorder or short-lived, temporary tic, is either organic or psychogenic. The child may have facial tics or tics involving movement of the arms, legs, or other areas. Tics appear to get worse with emotional stress and are absent while sleeping.


Clinicians recommend the family pay no attention to the tics at first, since unwanted attention may reinforce the frequency of the tics.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

If tics are severe to cause problems in school or occupational functioning, then behavioral techniques are recommended.

Pharmacotherapy [ See Psychopharmacology Section ] :

Tics may be precipitated in with ADHD when they are given methylphenidate (Ritalin). This antihyperactive drug does not cause the tic but precipitates it. Withdrawal of the drug, however, may not stop the tic once it has been initiated.

DSM Code

307.23 Transient Tic Disorder

F95.0 Transient Tic Disorder

Disorder Sheets

Tourettes Action
Tourettes Action
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Recommended Book

Tourette's Syndrome - Tics, Obsessions, Compulsions: Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Care - Click Here to View


Transient Tic Disorder

Misc Information


Behavioral Disorders of Childhood & Adolescence