What makes my tics Tourette’s and not another tic disorder

Everyone with Tourette’s has tics, but not everyone with tics has Tourette’s.

I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome because I have both motor and vocal tics. It was also because these tics lasted longer than a year.

My diagnosis helped me to see TS and other tic disorders more clearly.


Topics covered:

  • Explanation of tics
  • List of tic disorders, from least to most severe
  • How a diagnosis may be reached
  • How OCD can merge with tic disorders

My Consultant Pediatrician Neurologist highlighted some of my tics in a letter to my GP when I was a child:

The fact that I had both motor and vocal tics is important. I was told both were needed to diagnose Tourette’s Syndrome.

I of course needed to visit a specialist to receive a diagnosis.

Having both motor and vocal tics

My tics come in two forms, Motor and Vocal.

Although they have changed since I was a child, they still occur frequently. Currently, my main tics are:

DescriptionMy tics
MotorTics involving my movementBlinking, shrugging, nodding, neck-cracking, touching objects, chattering teeth
VocalSounds and words/phrases Grunts, coughs, humming, tongue ‘clicking’, sniffing, saying words/phrases

All tics fall under the two categories. The list of possible tics is endless, someone else may have a very different experience to me.

I have a longer post on my specific tics over at My Motor and Vocal Tics. This will also be linked at the end of the post!

Explaining that I have TS with Tower Bridge seen in background

Other Tic Disorders

Tourette’s Action, a support and research charity in the UK, describes the other tic disorders outside of TS:

Information provided by Tourettes Action

If my tics only lasted weeks or months, or if I only had motor or vocal tics but not both, I would have been diagnosed with a different tic disorder.

My shouting of words, humming, touching the floor, kissing the back seat of the car, scraping my knuckles along the floor and biting meant that TS was the only thing it could be.

The spectrum of tic disorders going from mild up to more severe

Tourettic-OCD also causes me to have tics

Over time my vocal tics dwindled from words, to simple grunts, coughs and hums.

However I have started saying words again, but this is partly due to OCD. I say words out loud to reverse the negative thoughts in my head, thoughts that bring me a lot of anxiety.

I have a post on Tourettic-OCD, as in my experience OCD frequently combines with TS and results in tics.

Another example is having three sensory urges to blink, and having to do a fourth obsessional blink to make it an even number. I do this a lot.

some tics are more Tourettic OCD

Being diagnosed helped me a lot

Because my tics were so obvious and troublesome, I got to speak to professionals to find ways of coping. This helped me understand from a very young age why I had this behavior and that I wasn’t alone.

Without this diagnosis I would have no doubt struggled a lot more, living life with a lot more questions.

From the age of nine I knew what I had, this meant I could read books and watch documentaries on the topic of Tourette’s. My parents also helped me find websites that brought together this unique community, sharing stories and spreading positivity.

My understanding of TS has increased tenfold as a result, and helps me to understand that although everyone with Tourette’s has tics, not everyone with tics has Tourette’s.


Information on other Tic Disorders:

Tourette’s Action: What is Tourette’s Syndrome?

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