Tics and Obsessions

Here's a list of types of tics divided into categories. Remember, there are a few different types of tic disorders...most tics "wax and wane"....a diagnosis of Tourettes comes when you are seeing both motor and vocal tics together and for a sustained period of over six months.

Common Tics

Simple Motor Tics

Eye Blinking
Shoulder Shrugs
Brushing or Tossing Hair Out of Eyes
Mouth Opening
Arm Extending
Facial Grimaces
Rolling Eyes

Simple Vocal/Phonic tics

Throat Clearing
Yelling or Screaming

Complex Motor Tics

Pulling at Clothes
Touching People
Touching Objects
Smelling Fingers
Smelling Objects
Jumping or Skipping
Poking or Jabbing
Kissing Self or Others
Flapping Arms
Twirling Around
Tensing Muscle Groups
Thrusting Movements of
Groin or Torso
Twirling Hair
Walking on Toes
Sexually Touching Self
Sexually Touching Others
Obscene Gestures
Echo Phenomena:
Others' Actions
One's Own Actions
Self-Injurious Behaviors (e.g., Biting,
Hitting, Picking Skin Or Scabs)

Complex Vocal/Phonic Tics

Making Animal-like Sounds
Unusual Changes in Pitch or Volume of Voice
Echo Phenomena:
One's Own Words or Sounds
Others' Words or Sounds
Socially Taboo Phrases


Now, here is a list of compulsions associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

Obsessions consist of repetitive unwanted or bothersome thoughts. Compulsive and Ritualistic Behaviors are when the person feels that something must be done over and over and/or in a certain way. Research shows 50 to 60% of persons with Tourette's Syndrome also have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)).


Being concerned with symmetry, exactness, cleanliness, order
Needing to know or remember things
Overfocusing on minute details
Having to have "JUST RIGHT" feeling
Overfocusing on one idea or action
Overfocusing on moral issues (right/wrong, fairness)
Focusing on specific numbers
Being concerned with colors of special significance
Needing to experience sensations (skin cut or burned)
Having a preoccupation with knives, scissors, blood
Worrying about harming self or others
Worrying that something terrible might happen (fire, death)
Being concerned about dirt or germs
Thinking about hoarding or collecting
Thinking about food and eating
Thinking about forbidden behaviors
Engaging in mental coprolalia (sexual thoughts, images, impulses)
Having aggressive thoughts, images, impulses

Adjusting/readjusting clothes to feel just right (socks, sleeves)
Evening things up (touching with one hand then the other)
Overfocusing on one idea or action
Counting or grouping objects
Counting objects over and over again
Excessively ordering and arranging objects
Touching objects an exact number of times
Constantly fiddling with objects or clothes
Checking and rechecking (doors, locks, windows)
Repeating actions (in/out door, up/down from chair)
Needing to say or do what told not to say or do
Needing to finish verbalizations if interrupted
Needing to start over if interrupted
Repeatedly asking the same question
Having to respond to verbalization even when unnecessary
Persevering on a task
Not being able to change to a new task or activity
Echopraxia (repeating the actions of others)
Copropraxia (making obscene gestures)
Repeating sounds, words, numbers, music to oneself
Playing computer video games over and over in mind
Pallilalia (repeating aloud own words)
Echolalia (repeating others' words)
Coprolalia (uttering obscene words)
Touching objects, others, self, wounds
Sexually touching self
Sexually touching others (breasts, buttocks, genitals)
Picking skin/sores
Cutting or burning skin
Sucking thumb
Cracking knuckles
Sniffing or smelling hands or objects
Licking or biting others
Excessive handwashing, bathing, cleaning
Erasing repeatedly
Writing and rewriting until paper looks perfect
Biting nails

Thank you very much for posting this. I found some of these to be very interesting in regards to my 8 yr. old difficult child son. Last year, he was suddenly doing this mouth opening thing A LOT. He would just repeatedly open his mouth wide and then close it. This lasted for several weeks, and then stopped on its own. I was getting concerned about it and was going to contact the Dr. but it just stopped. This was happening when there was a great deal of stress in my house caused by my ODD nephew who was living here. I was interested to see that moth opening was one of the tics listed. He also does the shoulder shrugging thing frequently too, but he has no vocal tics. Any idea what this could mean, if anything? Thanks again for the info.

Love, Carol

Biological mom to Nick 15 year old easy child, Jacquie 13 year old Learning Disability (LD) but easy child behavior, adoptive mom to Jay, 7 year old severe ADHD with brain injury suffered from child abuse,supportive Aunt to 18 year old nephew with ODD,wife of 17 years to wonderful husband, and mom to 2 year old mini french poodle named Abby who is my little baby girl!!!

Carol, those are simple motor tics.

There are a few different tic disorders. The most basic tic disorder is called transient tic disorder....a child will exhibit a single tic at a time for, say, a couple of months....then all tics will disappear, and down the road a few months a new one will show up. Usually only one is displayed at a time.



New Member
Thanks so much for the infor. I get my best infor here from my friends! My son has been diagnoised with both! Tourettes and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)! He has several of the listed items. Very interesting though as I see that I do too. And I have wondered if I had these before but, was thinking I was jsut looking for a reason for my stress even when difficult child was not around!

I'll mention it to my doctor?


-Adam(difficult child), 13 years old
Adderall,Dexedrine,clonidine,depakote,Risperdal! !IN Residential Treatment Center (RTC) since 11/23/99. 2nd time in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), 5 acute care stays. Tenative Discharge date was 8/00?Kicked out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and taken back after stabilization in acute care hospital(s).
-Diag: ADHD/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)(Aspergers?)
-4 year old easy child girl. Questioning easy child right now!!Very caring and supportive SO. I am hoping we can tag team(co-parent)and keep difficult child here at home.
Try, try, try again! When can I just give up?


difficult child was diaganosed with Tourettes last year whild hospitalized but this has been discarded by his other physicians. He has never had vocal tics, but has smelled objects.....also food before he eats it, He smells his fingers since he was a baby. He used to smell his hand after I held his hand when crossing the street.

He has head jerking about once or twice every 4 or 5 minutes when not on medications; he also makes up and down movements with his hands and wrists(when bored)

He constantly is cracking his neck and back because "it hurts if I dont"

He repeats the words to music to himself when he is not listening to (what he calls music)

He spits everytime he leaves the house and when he gets out of the car.

When he rages or is just angry, he swears and uswes foul language. He has controlled this at school.


Nana - on Efflexor,
Guardian and Grandmom to 13 yr.old difficult child

husband 25 yrs sobriety, Post Coronary bypass, Drug and alcohol counselor,
Guardian and Grandpa to difficult child.

difficult child- 13 yr old ADHD/ODD-Explosive Mood Disorder, possible emerging Bipolar, Possible PTSS

My difficult child has the facial grimaces and eye blinking, he recently started puttinh his fingers in his mouth constantly, I have wondered if the adderol could be giving him these tics. is that possible?

difficult child/m/13 on adderol and depakote, ODD, ADHD,seizure disorder
easy child's 12/m, 14/f, 15/f,17/m,18/m,21/m
23m/adhd/probably was and is probably ODD
husband of 25 yrs, wonderful husband
me..older than dirt/tired and depressed

Hi Paula. Thanks for this interesting post. My son hasn't been diagnosis'd with Tourette's Syndrome - but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I visited with him - and watched closely. I observed: pulling shirt away from neck (every 3 - 4 seconds), twirling hair, rubbing nose with finger - constantly. These are tic's he's displayed his entire life, but these aren't all the tics, there are several that are present while he eats (eat a fork full - rub the nose - it's a pattern). Plus a few others. Anyway, where can I get more information on this?

Thanks again.....


35 Yrs Old, certified surgical technologist
11 Yr Old Son, ADD, ODD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, Anxiety,
Depression/medications - Seroquel, Welbutrin, Zoloft, & now Tenex. Youth Home since 2/00.
Very Supportive Farmer Husband.....


You can start here for basic information on Tourettes:


You should also also read my post called "a lesson I had to learn the hard way.."

Nana, if Mark is displaying that many complex tics and he is not taking a stimulant, I'd say his doctor took the diagnosis off Tourettes WAY to hastily. Tourettes would explain a lot of his aggressive behavior. I think you should press this a little harder. I had no idea that Mark ticced or I would have told you this earlier.

Most people with Tourettes, especially when they are adults, do well without any type of medication if the case is not too severe. They just make modifications to their lives that help them cope with the tics. It's not necessary to use medication for ticcing. Only if it seriously impedes your life, social or otherwise. In my sons case, he tics so hard that he cannot even function without medication.