A child with a tic disorder has a strong urge to make a movement or sound and satisfies the urge by performing the tic. Some of the most common vocal tics are grunts, whistles, and repetition of certain words. Motor tics might include repetitive movements of the face, such as blinking, opening the mouth wide, or scrunching the nose. Your child may also have twitches in the arms or legs, or experience the urge to perform a sequence of movements. Tics are typically first noticed in early childhood, and many children outgrow them.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted, intrusive, distressing thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. These thoughts or actions may be performed to neutralize obsessions or reduce distress/anxiety. OCD behaviors can begin appearing as early as age four but most often become noticeable around age seven or eight. Common obsessions include fears of germs or contamination or obsessions related to perfectionism. Common compulsions include excessive washing or cleaning, checking behaviors, and repeating or counting.
When to Seek Help
Children may outgrow these repetitive behaviors or fearful thoughts on their own, but if they persist or create disruption in your child’s life or family life, we can help. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, talk to your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a behavioral health specialist who can offer solutions.