Tics are the visible symptoms of TS but it is not necessary the most difficult aspect to deal with.   Other manifestations like learning disorders, behaviour difficulties or obsessions and compulsions can compromise the current and future quality of life of the person with TS.

People with TS do not control their tics, they generally feel a physical and psychological discomfort that can be eased only by the specific tic. We could compare this sensation to sneezing or itching.

Some people, generally adults, can suppress or modify their tics over a certain period of time going from a few minutes to a few hours. However, because that kind of control requires a lot of concentration and energy, it is not recommended for children.

In addition, after a certain period of tics suppression, there would be a more intense period of tics, as if the body would compensate for the period of absence – as if there was a sort of predetermined number of tics that the body needed to express


Tics can be motor (muscular contractions) or vocal (mouth or nose noises). There are simple, complex and organized tics. Simple tics are quick, short and without significance. Complex tics are generally more elaborate, using a sequence of movements and can seem voluntary even if they are not.

Clinical symptoms of TS tics

Motor tics

blinking, grimacing, body contractions

Vocal tics

Mouth or nose noises, whistling, barking, rude or vulgar verbalizations

Tics localization

Face: 95%

Head, neck and shoulders: 90%

Other parts of the body: 40 to 80%

Exemple of motor tics


Blinking, grimacing and other facial movements, nodding, rolling of shoulders, neck stretching, etc.


Sudden movements, touching objects, sniffing hands or objects, jittering, spitting, hitting, kicking, squatting, etc.


Sequence of ritualized movements


Imitation of somebody else’s movements


Obscene movements (two finger gesture), obscene touching or sexual innuendos

Examples of vocal tics


Sniffing, grunting, throat clearing, coughing, whistling, other inarticulate sounds, etc.


Barking, explosive sound eruptions, etc.


Complete words, phrases, or sentences

Echolalia (40%)

Repeating somebody else’s words or syllables

Coprolalia (10%)

Using rude or obscene language


Repeating own’s words or syllables

Factors that will enhance tics

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Fatigue
  • Excitement
  • Stress

Factors that will reduce tics

  • Sleep
  • Orgasms
  • Fever
  • Relaxation
  • Concentration