Nervous tics in children: how to correct them

In some children, tics They seem to be part of his personality and do not pose any interference in the everyday. However, these physical movements or involuntary linguistic interference they can, in other cases, become a real burden for the quality of life of those who suffer them.

According to Carmen Ferrer, clinical psychologist and vice president of the clinical section of the Psychologists College of Catalonia, these tics they have a great significance and an unconscious cause, they are derived from the relationship with a person with whom there is an important bond of affection and are usually the result of a functioning or rejected behavior that requires satisfaction.


Between 1% and 6% of children may develop a tic, although in many cases it is transient and does not need a specific treatment. Muscular tics occur to a large extent in childhood in a benign and temporary way and only their chronification and the existence of serious difficulties in the normal development of the child advise to consult.

In many cases, those affected by a nervous tic, whether they are minors or adults, they go to the specialist due to other aspects of their mental health such as anxiety, depression or learning disorders. In adults, tic may be associated with situations of anxiety or stress, but also traumas, for example, that occurred during childhood.


These tics should not be confused with those that have a physical basis and that are symptoms of neurological disorders, a group of patients that, in addition, is much more reduced and that usually follow a pharmacological treatment derived from the disease.

Between the most common types of tics, Ferrer points out involuntary movements of eyes, head or shoulders, echolalia (repeat what the other says), coprolalia (say words that are vulgar or associated with eschatology in an impulsive way), compulsively scratching or repetitive coughing.

How to act to correct nervous tics

- Do not blame the child and above all not forbidding him to perform the tic, since it is something that they can not control and repression, rather than helping him, can aggravate the situation.

- It is convenient to reassure him and explain that it is something benign, transient and with solution. In addition, you have to give a lot of support so you can overcome the possible ridicule of other children at school. When the child is accompanied by anxiety, stress or a decrease in school performance is necessary to go to the specialist as soon as possible.


- Talk with the child and ask what is happening. Sometimes children have a theory that explains the tic and that can be the key to eradicating it. In addition, we must pay attention to the moment in which it began and examine the situations in which it is repeated.

- Regarding drugs, although they can improve the development of the tic, they do not heal and they also have secondary effects, which makes it necessary to assess the convenience or not of their use. Before using medications, it must be considered that tics sometimes disappear spontaneously or by treatment with psychotherapy.

- Rage situations, fear or rejection can lead to these tics in children where they exist deficiencies in the family environment.

- We must bear in mind that the tick actually it's not a wake-up call directed to others, but rather an involuntary own behavior whose only recipient is oneself.

Marisol Nuevo Espín

Video: Tic Disorders in Children - Mayo Clinic


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