Lip-biting tic

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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.

Lip-biting is a tic that is painfully easy to carry out, yet may go unnoticed by others. It can involve biting the lip as a whole, or picking at the skin. It is different to skin-picking compulsions in other disorders, and when triggered by anxiety, boredom or stimming.

Is lip-biting a motor or vocal tic?

Biting the lip is a movement, and therefore a motor tic. 

More articles on Motor and Vocal tics

Would this be a simple or complex tic?

This is a simple tic.

Like every tic, there is a chance that this is incorporated into a larger sequence of tics (such as humming or head nodding) simultaneously. Additional movements- or the use of additional muscle groups- would be an example of a complex tic.

Main article: The difference between simple and complex tics

What to look out for

Bleeding, open wounds, certain food and ingredients such as salt making eating difficult, or not eating due to pain. 

Dry lips may be a trigger for such tics, and these tics may be seasonal.

Is this a sign of Tourette syndrome?

If lip biting has occurred for more than one year, and accompanied by at least one other motor tic and one vocal tic for the same duration, it could be Tourette syndrome.

A diagnosis can only be provided by a specialist, as symptoms may be of a separate condition altogether.

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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