Nervous tics in children: symptoms and treatment

In most cases, children can partially control or reproduce their own nervous tics. With normal intellectual development of the child, the disease is often accompanied by a decrease in memory, mental performance, anxiety and movement disorders.

A nervous tic in a child is a rapid and involuntary monotonous muscle contraction

As a rule, nervous tics are observed in children aged 2-17 years, the average age is 6-7 years. The incidence of the disease in childhood is 6-10%. In 96% of cases, a nervous tic occurs before the age of 11. The most common manifestation of the disease is blinking. At the age of 8-10, vocal tics may occur, the initial manifestation of which is coughing and sniffing . The disease progresses on the rise, the peak falls on 10-12 years, then there is a decrease in symptoms. In 90% of cases, the forecast for local ticks is favorable. In 50% of patients, the symptoms of common nervous tics completely regress.

Symptoms of nervous tics in children

Tics are repetitive, unexpected, short, stereotyped movements or utterances that are superficially similar to voluntary ones.

Types of nervous tics in a child


Organic tics are manifested as a result of traumatic brain injury, as a result of past or current organic diseases of the brain. Such nervous tics are stereotyped and persistent, and have an elementary character.


They arise against the background of a chronic or acute traumatic situation. Psychogenic nervous tics are subdivided into neurotic and obsessive, which are less common.


They develop without obvious exogenous effects against the background of current and / or early somatic pathology. Often, a child with a nervous tic has a history of hyperactivity and early childhood nervousness. The external manifestations of such ticks are highly variable. They are recurrent in nature and can be complex or simple.


Such tics arise according to the principle of conditioned reflexes, which are biologically impractical, but are associated with prolonged local tissue irritation, for example, spasms after conjunctivitis, sniffing after rhinitis, etc. A reflex nervous tic is a stereotyped involuntary movement that was initially a response to a specific stimulus.

Teak-like hyperkinesis

They are observed in pathological diseases. Such nervous tics include violent movements of the hands and face during stuttering in children , for example, additional peculiar movements to facilitate the pronunciation of words and speech in general. 


Idiopathic tics develop without a specific cause, except for the possibility of a hereditary predisposition.
When treating a nervous tic in a child, it is necessary to choose methods of pedagogical correction

Treatment of nervous tics in children

The main principle of treating tics in children is a differentiated and integrated approach. Before prescribing medication or other therapy, one should determine the possible causes of the onset of the disease and choose the methods of pedagogical correction. In the case of mild tics, treatment is usually given on an outpatient basis so that the child can be in a familiar environment and attend kindergarten. In most cases, sedatives are prescribed for oral administration, since injection therapy negatively affects the emotional state of the child and can provoke an attack of a nervous tic.  

Psychological impact

Often, the severity of nervous tics decreases when parents reduce the requirements for the baby, stop focusing on the shortcomings and begin to perceive his personality as a whole without “bad” and “good” qualities. Sports activities, adherence to the daily routine, walks in the fresh air have a positive effect. In some cases, treatment should include the help of a psychotherapist, since certain types of nervous tics are removed by suggestion.

Drug treatment

With drug treatment, the child is prescribed nootropic and psychotropic drugs. When choosing such a therapy, concomitant diseases, etiology, the age of the baby and the nature of the nervous tic are taken into account. The course of drug treatment is carried out with persistent, severe and severe tics, which are combined with behavioral disturbances, academic failure, affect well-being, complicate the social adaptation of children and limit the possibilities for self-realization. This type of treatment is not prescribed if the tics do not disrupt the normal activity of the baby, but only the parents are concerned.  

Tips for parents with a nervous tic in a child

Don’t focus on ticks

Parents should try not to notice the baby’s nervous tics, regardless of their severity. Remember that positive changes in your child’s behavior may not appear as quickly as you would like.

Create a positive emotional environment

Games and fun will help to “revive” the baby, breathing optimism and cheerfulness into him. It is important to choose emotionally significant hobbies and hobbies for a child with a nervous tic, among which sports are the most effective.

Control the psychophysical well-being of the baby

Your baby understands that tics are painful and more unusual movements. He is embarrassed about it in public, trying to restrain himself, from which he begins to experience the strongest internal stress that tires him. Try to make sure that the baby with tics feels as little discomfort as possible from everyone’s attention and does not feel like everyone else.

Performing soothing exercises with your child

If a baby suffering from a nervous tic is offended or outraged by something and is ready to burst into tears, invite him to perform special exercises, or better do them with him. For example, stand on one leg like a heron, tucking the other under you, and then jump a few times. A sure and quick way to relax is to quickly tense your muscles and release them.

Determining the degree of anxiety in a child

Read the statements carefully and answer “Yes” to those that apply to your baby. Then count how many times you answered “Yes”. For each “yes”, give 1 point and determine the total amount.

Can’t do work for a long time without getting tiredSweats a lot with excitement
Has difficulty concentrating on somethingDoesn’t have a good appetite
Any assignment is unnecessarily anxious.Difficulty falling asleep and restless sleep
Very constrained and tense on assignmentsShy, many things make him feel afraid
Often embarrassedGet upset easily and usually restless
Often talks about stressful situationsCan’t hold back tears usually
Usually blushes in unfamiliar environmentsPoorly tolerates waiting
Tells about bad dreamsDoesn’t like to start new business
He usually has wet and cold hands.Not confident in my abilities and myself
He often has constipation or stool disorderAfraid of difficulties

Calculation of the results of the test “Determination of child’s anxiety”

  • 1-6 points – low level of anxiety 
  • 7-14 points – average level of anxiety 
  • 15-20 points – high level of anxiety 

Children with high levels of anxiety need help from parents and a psychologist.

Leave a Reply