Monday, July 15, 2024

What Causes Tics In Autism

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Characteristics Of Tourette Syndrome

Autism Behaviours: Tics, Spasms, Seizures (16/16)

Tics are sudden, repetitive, stereotyped, non-rhythmic, involuntary movements and utterances that involve discrete muscle groups. Motor tics are movement-based tics, while vocal tics are involuntary sounds produced by moving air through the nose, mouth, or throat.

The most typical age of onset is from five to seven. The ages of highest tic severity are eight to twelve , with tics steadily declining for most patients as they pass through adolescence. The most common, first-presenting tics are eye blinking, facial movements, sniffing and throat clearing. Initial tics present most frequently in midline body regions where there are many muscles, usually the head, neck and facial region. This can be contrasted with the stereotyped movements of other disorders , which typically have an earlier age of onset, are more symmetrical, rhythmical and bilateral, and involve the extremities . Tics that appear early in the course of the condition are frequently confused with other conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and vision problems: pediatricians, allergists and ophthalmologists are typically the first to see a child with tics.

Facial Tics In Autism

Autism is a complex condition often characterised by obsessional ritualistic behaviour and repetition. Tics do not form a major part in the condition but are frequently observed as an additional complication. Milder forms of autism such as Tourettes syndrome commonly feature tics especially vocal tics which may take the form, not only of making a noise, but also in the repetition of swear words.

Facial tics can form a very distressing condition. From a medical viewpoint, they usually have little or no significance but psychologically, they can lead to depression, anxiety and social exclusion all of which are likely to make the condition worse.

Children, in particular, may experience bullying potentially leading to serious mental health problems in the future. For reasons which are not fully understood, boys are three to four times more like to suffer from tic disorders than girls. So the treatment of tics usually involves lifestyle changes and actively controlling stress. In some cases, medical professionals may be needed to help with suitable therapies or, in the most severe cases, by the prescription of drugs. In the majority of cases, tic disorders tend to subside with time and even the so-called chronic cases, tend to be time-limited. Probably the worst thing to do is to about facial tics is to worry excessively as this will probably make the condition worse.

Do Vaccines Cause Tics Or Tourette Syndrome

As you might suspect, vaccines do not cause tics or Tourette Syndrome.

Neither does thimerosal, which used to be a common preservative in vaccines.

Thats not surprising, as neither tics nor Tourette Syndrome are new conditions.

Why can you find studies that try to link thimerosal and vaccines to tics and Tourette Syndrome? Because they are poorly done studies by folks who routinely do studies that try to make it look like vaccines cause everything from autism and tics to ADHD.

Other studies have found no link between thimerosal and tics, including the study Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines.

Even the studies that found some association werent very convincing.

With the possible exception of tics, there was no evidence that thimerosal exposure via DTP/DT vaccines causes neurodevelopmental disorders.

Andrews et al on Thimerosal exposure in infants and developmental disorders: a retrospective cohort study in the United kingdom does not support a causal association.

One study, for example, did actually find some association between thimerosal and tics.


Infants who received one dose of DTP with thimerosal had a higher rate of tics than infants who didnt. The strange thing about the study though is that infants who had two or three doses also had a higher rate than getting just one dose and a similar rate as kids who didnt get any vaccines with thimerosal.

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Therapies For Tic Disorders

Some therapies are available to help people control tics and reduce their occurrence, including:

  • Exposure and response prevention : A type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps people become accustomed to the uncomfortable urges preceding a tic, with the aim of preventing the tic.
  • Habit reversal therapy: A treatment that teaches people with tic disorders to use movements to compete with tics, so the tic cannot happen.

Chronic Motor Or Vocal Tic Disorder

Tourette Syndrome Symptoms &  Risk Factors+ 9 Natural ...

Tics that appear before the age of 18 and last for 1 year or more may be classified as a chronic tic disorder. These tics can be either motor or vocal, but not both.

Chronic tic disorder is less common than transient tic disorder, with less than 1 percent of children affected.

If the child is younger at the onset of a chronic motor or vocal tic disorder, they have a greater chance of recovery, with tics usually disappearing within 6 years. People who continue to experience symptoms beyond age 18 are less likely to see their symptoms resolved.

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Is Stimming A Sign Of Adhd

Stimming is not necessarily a sign of ADHD. However, theres no denying that fidgeting, one of the classic symptoms of ADHD, shares a lot of similarities with stimming.

Stimming and fidgeting serve the same purpose: to soothe/ calm down nerves. Similarly, they become habitual when performed for a long time.

Stimming is a common ADHD symptom. When left unchecked, it tends to worsen the challenges people living with ADHD often go through. To understand the relationship between fidgeting, stimming, and ADHD, its important to look at the different types of ADHD.

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Hyperactive
  • Inattentive
  • Combined

If youve guessed that hyperactive ADHD has the most fidgeting and stimming, youve guessed correctly. Bear in mind, however, that fidgeting, which is essentially a form of stimming, is a hallmark symptom of all types of ADHD.

Focus On Improving Your Sleep Life

For many people, tics get worse or at least more frequent when theyre fatigued. Getting a good nights sleep can make a difference. This can be especially challenging for people with ADHD, since sleep issues are a hallmark of the condition.

Some ADHD medications can help you fall asleep, or you may want to talk with a healthcare professional about adding

evidence suggesting that tics can develop or worsen as a result of chronic trauma, especially where the genetic groundwork for tics is already present.

If trauma has been a factor in your life especially in childhood, when neural pathways are developing its important to find out more on ways to treat the effects of trauma on your mind and body.

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Managing Stims And Tics

Stims and tics eventually become problematic for the person experiencing them. When stimming starts to interfere with a persons day-to-day interactions or draw negative attention, the people it affects may start to feel marginalized and neglected.

The same applies to tics, which see most of its patients singled out for unusual behavior.

Even though its a good idea to keep stims under control, its not easy to manage an activity that helps us relax and feel happy. Stimming is a sensory and emotional outlet, and it shouldnt be managed using negative reinforcement or punitive methods.

Ideally, managing stims and tics should be a slow but steady process that doesnt restrict too much and adapts to the sensory and emotional needs of the individual.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Glutamate Imbalance

AUTISM AND TICS – Aspergers And Autism Ticking | The Aspie World

First, let’s talk about the physical and emotional symptoms that can appear when there is too much glutamate in the brain.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Cannot turn your brain off when you want to relax
  • Disorganized attention or inability to focus
  • Worry too much about things you should not
  • Get overwhelmed easily
  • Behaviors that we typically associate with autism, such as:
  • Complex Motor Sterotypies looks like flapping or stimming
  • Tics
  • Symptoms of PANDAS/PANS
  • Cannot handle supplements that have methyl donors:
  • Many people with elevated levels of glutamate do not do well with methylfolate or any type of folate until the levels of glutamate are balanced. This is because excess folate breaks down into glutamate.
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    Chronic Tics And Ocd May Have Underlying Etiology

    Youth and young adults with chronic tics and OCD may have underlying infectious/immunologic etiology, the authors concluded. 5

    Researchers have also found that children who had multiple strep infections were at a greater risk of developing Tourettes syndrome when compared to those who did not have repeated infections. 6

    What Is The Cause Of Dyspraxia

    Whilst the exact cause of dyspraxia is unknown, research suggests that it is more than likely a result of a delayed or impaired development of neurones in the brain, rather than brain damage.

    Dyspraxia is not hereditary, but members of the same family sometimes display similar dyspraxic symptoms.

    Can you have dyslexia and dyspraxia?

    Learning difficulties which affect the way information is processed are known as Specific Learning Difficulties and include:

    Dyspraxia Attention Deficit Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    It is fairly common for someone with dyspraxia to also have other learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADD . These are known as co-occurring difficulties and symptoms can vary in severity from person to person.

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    The Key Differences Between Stims And Tics

    • Tics intensify and change over time, whereas a person can have the same stims their whole life.
    • Tics can be simple or complex, but stims, though repetitive, are rarely complex. Most of them are simple actions that are consistently repeated from time to time.
    • Tics are often preceded by what is termed as a premonitory urge, essentially a feeling of distress that manifests as pressure, tension, or even what some describe as itchy blood.
    • Stimming often happens so automatically that we barely notice it beginning and often catch ourselves in the act. Tics are quite uncomfortable, whereas stims are soothing and a good way to regulate sensations and emotions by expending extra energy.
    • Tics are mostly associated with Tourettes Syndrome, whereby stimming is a common symptom in ADHD and ASD.
    Common symptom in Tourettes and other tic disorders Common in ADHD, ASD, and anxiety

    Why Do People With Autism Stim

    A Little Bit Different: Tourette

    Its virtually impossible to pinpoint the exact reasons why someone with autism may be acting out. There are some theories, such as:

    Overstimulation: In most ASD cases, stimming can help block out excess sensory input.

    Stimulation: In times of need, stimming provides additional sensory input.

    Pain Reduction: The sensation of pain is lessened by the repeated banging of the head or body. It has been hypothesized that stimming releases beta-endorphins, which are responsible for feelings of anesthesia or pleasure.

    Managing Emotions: A stimming burst can be triggered by both positive and negative emotions. When we are excited or happy, our bodies react physically, like jumping and flinching. Stimuli may become destructive if anger or frustration intensifies them.

    Autoregulation: The purpose of some stims is to comfort or soothe. Sucking the thumb is a common method of relaxation for infants.

    Other reasons for stimming in people with autism include:

    • For relaxation during anxiety
    • To express a negative emotion
    • To avoid activities

    Throwing ones head back, flicking ones fingers, or flicking stuff are some of the most common stims that people with autism exhibit. This is seen in other disorders, but what sets autism apart from other disorders is that people often do it when they get upset or stressed out about something. A child might also do this when they are excited or want to get attention from others around them.

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    What Are The Risk Factors For Tourette Syndrome

    Risk factors for Tourette syndrome include:

    • Gender: Males are three to four times more likely than females to develop TS.
    • Family history: Parents may pass TS down to children through genes .
    • Prenatal health: Children born to mothers who smoked or had health complications during pregnancy may be at a higher risk for TS. Low birth weight may also increase the chances of TS.

    What Causes Tic Disorders

    Tics can be borne of either biological or environmental factors. When biology is responsible, it is often in the form of a subluxation of a crucial joint in the upper cervical vertebrae.

    The tension caused by the dislocation translates to the spinal cord and then the brain stem. These organs are all vital for sensory stimulation, so when undue pressure is placed on them, it causes the involuntary vocal and motor movements that we call tics.

    Tics can also start due to environmental pressure. Chronic stress and traumatic experiences can cause significant psychological distress, which turns into sensory malfunctions after a prolonged period.

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    What Kind Of Tics Are Most Common In Children With Autism

    Tourette syndrome is a co-morbid disorder with autism spectrum disorders.

    Previously, it was believed that tics in autism spectrum disorders was a result of neuroleptic medication. However, an increasing number of clinical reports and studies have now established that tics, such as those associated with TS, are common in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Within this study, it was found that of those diagnosed with autism, 22 percent also showed symptoms of tic disorders 11 percent with Tourette syndrome and 11 percent with chronic motor tic disorder.

    On average, the most common age of onset is from five to seven, with the highest severity being between eight and twelve years of age. The most common tics that are initially present include facial movements, throat clearing, and eye blinking. However, these tics are often contrasted with other movements related to autism, such as stimming or stereotypical behaviors.

    Explaining Seizures To Children With Epilepsy And Their Peers

    Difference between Tics and Stimming

    Sometimes it can be difficult for children to understand what is happening when they are having a seizure. In addition, it can be very scary for their peers or friends who witness them. Autism Speaks has put together Visual Stories to explain to children how people with epilepsy are just like everyone else!

    Visual Story for Peers of Children with EpilepsyIf a family member suffers from seizures, you may want to consider a medical alert bracelet that can inform first responders of the seizure disorder and any medications that the individual may take. There are a variety of options available on the internet.

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    Where Can I Get More Information

    For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institutes Brain Resources and Information Network at:

    Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

    NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history.

    All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

    Pregnancies Less Than A Year Apart

    From the Study to Explore Early Development spacing out a second pregnancy in under 18 months can cause ASD. Doctors have always recommended keeping pregnancies spaced further apart.

    This study can be found here. Its interesting reading, but it doesnt give any reasons why this is occurring, its basically statistics.

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    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    Many children have trouble with thinking before they act, sitting still and focusing. But in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , these behaviours can be extreme and have a big effect on their daily lives. The behaviours usually happen together, although some children can be mainly inattentive.

    How common is ADHD in autistic children? Autism and ADHD share some common characteristics like not seeming to listen when people speak, interrupting, or intruding on other peoples personal space. Many autistic children have behaviour thats very similar to ADHD.

    How is ADHD treated? Theres no cure, but children and teenagers can learn to manage ADHD using behaviour strategies, taking medication, or a combination of the two.

    Find out more

    Can Adhd Medication Cause Or Exacerbate Tics

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    In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration advised against the use of methylphenidate to treat ADHD as it increased the risk of developing tics.

    The stimulant was later cleared after studies showed no direct links between the ADHD drug and an increased risk of developing tics.

    Today, the FDA still advises against the use of certain stimulant drugs on people with tic disorders like Tourettes Syndrome as it may exacerbate their tics.

    It later approved three non-stimulant medications for ADHD:

    • Guanfacine
    • Atomoxetine
    • Clonidine

    While some studies show that these non-stimulant drugs are generally better for managing ADHD in children with tics, others suggest that atomoxetine could result in tics in some children.

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    How Is Tourette Syndrome Treated

    Theres no cure for Tourette syndrome, but most of the time no treatment is needed. A kid with Tourette syndrome is able to deal with the tics and still do normal stuff, like go to school and play with friends. If tics are making it hard to do normal stuff, a doctor may suggest medicine.

    Visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist can be helpful, too. Tourette syndrome isnt a psychological problem, but a therapist can teach coping and relaxation skills that can help. They can also help with other problems that can be connected to Tourette syndrome, like ADHD and anxiety.

    Stress or being upset can make the tics worse, and kids with Tourette syndrome might feel upset because of the tics and the problems that go with them. Counselors and Tourette syndrome organizations can help kids learn how to explain tics to others.

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