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  • Adult-onset? My situation...

    Hey everyone. I'm brand new here, and I'm not even sure I belong! I'm a 25-year-old woman in Alabama, and I never had any tic problems as a child. However, for about six years now, I've had a tic in my left arm/shoulder. It's gotten gradually worse but hasn't progressed in the past couple of years. It doesn't hurt (until I inadvertantly hit something, LOL!) but it's definitely strange. I saw a neurologist a few months back, and he seemed pretty baffled. He ran a few tests (specifically a brain scan) with no abnormal results, and wanted to do an MRI but I couldn't afford the copay for that at the time. He put me on a muscle relaxer (I can't remember the name) but it only seemed to get worse, not better. Does this sounds like any form of Tourette's or another tic disorder, or do you think it's something else all together? From what I've read, it's uncommon for tic disorders to be adult onset. I pretty much gave up on that neurologist because he didn't seem to have any answers and because it's not interrupting my life (it's just become a running joke with all my friends -- they often call me "Lefty" or "Twitchy"), but it seems pretty odd. The "twitch" occurs daily, usually many, many times a day (as much as 5 or 10 times an hour at times), but sometimes I'll go two or three days without it. It seems like once it starts, it continues regularly for a couple of hours.

    Any thoughts whatsoever? Am I just a freak of nature?

  • #2
    Re: Adult-onset? My situation...

    Hi -- and welcome to the TSFC Forum

    We are a non-exclusive club -- if you have tics, or questions about tics and/or Tourette, you are always welcome!

    I know a few people who have 'adult onset' Tourette. The diagnostic criteria for Tourette Syndrome does include the statement that the on-set is before the age of 18, but there seem to be a few who slide by that age.

    With any diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome, the doctor tries to rule out other causes for the tics -- including things such as a brain injury, or illnesses. It sounds like your doctor has done some tests to try to rule out other causes. Do you know if the MRI was to look for rule out anything specific, or was it a 'fishing expedition' to see if anything turned up?

    The current diagnositic criteria also includes the requirement that you have more than one motor tic, and at least one vocal tic. Also, the tics should be present for at least a year. Some doctors will diagnosis before a year is up.

    I was just at the TSFC conference and the newest information coming down the pipe is that some doctors will diagnose without a vocal tic.

    You may not meet the diagnostic criteria for Tourette Syndrome, but it sounds like you may have a tic disorder of some sort. If everything else is ruled out, that is usually the fall-back diagnosis.
    Cathy
    Forum Moderator

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    • #3
      Re: Adult-onset? My situation...

      was just at the TSFC conference and the newest information coming down the pipe is that some doctors will diagnose without a vocal tic
      Cathy,

      Would you elaborate on how the criteria for vocal tics is being modified?

      Is this diagnostic criterion widely accepted or is it still in the proposal stage?

      Are there circumstances where this modified criterion would be applied?
      Steve
      TouretteLinks Forum

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      • #4
        Re: Adult-onset? My situation...

        Welcome!

        Adult onset is possible. I know, because it happened to me.

        I had extremely minor tics when I was a teenager -- so minor that I didn't really notice them, or even recognize them as tics despite having a brother with Tourette's Syndrome. But full TS appeared for me at age 20. I am now 24.

        It definitely sounds like a tic disorder to me, although I'm no doctor. Whether it's really Tourette's Syndrome or not isn't obvious... hard for us to say. But the realities of TS and any other tic disorder are very similar.
        Colin

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        • #5
          Re: Adult-onset? My situation...

          I'll start a new thread to respond to Steve's question

          Would you elaborate on how the criteria for vocal tics is being modified?
          Cathy
          Forum Moderator

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