Breathing tics

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Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

Gasping or breathing tics consist of inhaling or exhaling due to a tic disorder. They can be considered to be both motor and/or vocal tics

Breathing tics can be troublesome as it affects breathing. This depends on the severity and frequency.

Breathing... a mix of motor and vocal?

Vocal tics are often described as involving muscles that are used for breathing, speaking and making sounds. Although not a verbal tic, breathing tics may come from an urge to hear the sound of the inhaling and exhaling process. For this reason, they can merge with other vocal tics such as whistling.

From a motor perspective, the desire may be to feel the diaphragm/ribs/chest lift and go down during the tic, more than to experience a sound.

Issues arising from breathing tics

Breathing tics are regularly labeled as a problem from those experiencing them, primarily due to the disruption it can cause day to day life. 

Constant tics make breathing feel ‘manual’, and can make focus very difficult. 

Anxiety from such tics will only make breathing more difficult, and the tic more apparent. This can make the experience feel like a spiral and cyclical.

Is this a tic?

Tic disorders have to be diagnosed by a trained professional, and done so by hearing an individuals experiences. Tics involving breathing are very common, and tic disorders are diagnosed through the longevity of tics, and number of tics experienced.

Main article: The difference between Tourette and other tic disorders

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DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

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