Can tics change over time?

Tics can- and often do- change for a person over time. They may disappear in adulthood or be lifelong. 

The severity and frequency over the years can vary, sometimes affected by factors such as diet and stress.

We can only speak from our personal perspective, but research can give us a better insight.

When do tics start?

Tourette’s Action– a UK based charity for Tourette- states that the average age for tics to develop is six to seven years

The NHS puts it a little earlier at five years, adding the following:

Very occasionally they can start in adulthood.

It is important to note that Tourette isn’t the only tic-disorder, and experiences of tics will differ from person to person.

An adult-onset of tics doesn't seem so rare

The Tourette Association of America states that individuals must show tics before the age of 18 to be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.

This may be due to the fact that tics can develop for other reasons in adults.

Moleculera Labs states that 1 in 3 adults with new tics have an external factor cause it, such as a head injury, illness or traumatic event.

Can tics improve or worsen over time?

Specialists have confirmed that for many individuals, tics begin to subside in adulthood.

I was told this personally as a child. My neurologist told my family that two-thirds of patients see tics reduce.

I have explained to the family the nature of this condition and how in approximately two-thirds of patients the motor twitches tend to dampen in early adulthood.  However in one-third of patients the condition can be permanent. 

The NHS still states that symptoms ‘usually improve after several years‘.

Can tics go away completely?

There is currently no cure for Tourette syndrome or tic-disorders. Tics can reduce significantly or sometimes disappear completely.

There doesn’t seem to be much information, but organisations such as the NHS and NINDS agree that tics ‘sometimes’ disappear, and ‘some people’ become tic-free.

The words 'relief from tics' with a smashed sand-timer in background

It is great news that so many sufferers tend to see a reduction of tics over time

However this isn’t always the case.

Many individuals can pinpoint what affects their tics personally, like diet and exercise or stress.

For this reason, there are ways to create the best life possible around the disorder, even if it never goes away completely.


Tourettes-Action: Symptoms of TS

NHS: Tics overview

Tourette Association of America: FAQs- What is Tourette Syndrome?

Moleculera Labs: Motor and Vocal Tics

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet

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