**TRIGGER WARNING** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE MAY TRIGGER ANXIETY SYMPTOMS - IF YOU ARE IN AN ANXIOUS OR VULNERABLE STATE, PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION OR READ IT AT ANOTHER TIME.
Nervous tics happen to many people at some point in their lives, especially when they are small children. Usually it is temporary, and disappears as a person ages, but for some people it doesn't, and can happen throughout their lives and on a more regular basis, especially in times of stress.
Tic Disorder is described as an involuntary movement or sound that a person makes with their body or mouth.
The physical tics (with the body) are referred to as motor tics and the verbal tics (with the mouth) are known as vocal tics.
Ten examples of some nervous Tics include: (but not limited to)
- Blinking and squeezing the eyes - making it seem as though the eyes are irritated
- Shrugging and rolling the shoulders
- Shaking a leg or both legs up and down in a very fast manner
- Rocking back and forth
- Making clicking sounds with the mouth
- Repeating certain words - sometimes yelling obscene words
- Clearing the throat for no apparent reason
- Stretching the fingers across each other - especially the pinkie finger
- Wrinkling the nose
Tourette Syndrome is the most common type of Tic Disorder. However to receive a diagnosis of this, a person must have two or more motor tics and one vocal tic, and they need to happen regularly.
The tics must have happened for at least a year and they need to have begun before 18 years of age.
The person should also not be experiencing the tics as symptoms from taking other medication or from having another medical condition.
What causes Tic Disorder?
The cause of Tic Disorder is not really known, but a few causes are speculated:
- Chemical imbalance or Abnormalities in the brain
- Other Mental Disorders such as ADHD, Anxiety, OCD and Depression
Tic Disorder can differ from person to person. Some people are not even aware that they are doing the Tics - this is more so with things such as wrinkling the nose, clearing the throat or shrugging the shoulders.
Some people however are aware of their tics but struggle to fight the urge to not perform the Tic. This can leave the person with increased frustration as a result of not carrying out the tic.
How to treat Tic syndrome
Unfortunately, there is no solid cure for tic disorder, however, it can be managed in a very efficient way.
A holistic approach is the best way to manage tic disorders, so whichever method you choose, it is always a good idea to look at your diet and lifestyle.
Because stress, anxiety and fatigue are big contributors to tic disorder, a person should try to keep their stress levels low, manage their anxiety and get enough sleep. If the tics are mild, then self care may be all you need to manage the condition.
For more severe cases however, apart from medication, two main therapies can be used under the guidance of a doctor and psychologist:
Habit reversal therapy helps a person to learn other ways to respond to the tic, so that those are used instead of the Tic, preventing the Tic from happening
Exposure with response prevention exposes a person to the sensations that they feel just before the Tic happens, helping to prevent the Tic from occurring.
It is very important to note that the muscles are heavily affected when our bodies are under stress or in an anxious state. The muscles are constantly in a state of tension, causing muscle twitching, or as was in my case, complete paralysis of the muscle from stressed induced muscles spasms.
This is because the nervous system is in an erratic state. This affects the nerve impulses, which control the muscles.
Here are some reasons at to why you may be experiencing anxiety induced muscle twitching:
The muscles are simply tired
When the muscles are in a tensed state, it's like they are doing exercise, but they never get to rest or stretch out - causing them to tire out easily, resulting in spasms, cramps and twitching.
As we know, adrenaline sets off the fight or flight response, which obviously gets our bodies into an excited state. This causes the muscles to want to move, resulting in an involuntary twitch.
Lack of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the bodies anti stress minerals and helps the muscles to relax
Not enough exercise
Exercise is important for keeping the muscles flexible and strong. Always warm up and cool down before exercise.
Not drinking enough water
People who are anxious tend to sweat or urinate more often, which could contribute to dehydration.
I encourage you to read the following references and resources, especially if you or someone you know suffer with a tic disorder: