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192055 tn?1263559137
Tourette Syndrom or OCD?
I am not too sure if my husband has tourette syndrom or OCD... but I know he has one of them... here are his symptoms.

-Blinking/facial movements/squinting
-He makes wierd noises sometimes (Almost like he's laughing or making a sound that sounds like cah (like the beginning of call) )
-He has lately picked up tapping on things... whether its on the table, mouse, computer, my arm, etc... whatever he is touching)

He is a perfectly normal 20 yr old... just that the symptoms above annoy me!! And him as well... he said he can't help it.

1) What is it?
2) Is there anything that will make him stop? Meds? Do they work?

Thanks
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13 Answers
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13167 tn?1327197724
Shannon,  did you not notice any of these symptoms before you married him?  

If so,  why did you marry him?  If not,  did you date him for more than like,  4 months?

What did you find endearing about him enough to marry him?  Find those things again and get off him about the little noises.
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13167 tn?1327197724
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Shannon,
Your husband's symptoms may be tics.

Tics are brief, rapid, purposeless, simple or complex involuntary movements that are virtually identical to one another and are repetitive but not rhythmic.

Simple tics, such as excessive blinking, may begin as nervous mannerisms, often during childhood, and may disappear without any treatment.
Complex tics, such as those that occur in Tourette's syndrome, often resemble fragments of normal behavior.

Symptoms and Diagnosis
Tourette's syndrome often begins with muscle tics.
Many people who do not have this disorder have simple tics, such as repetitive eye blinks, which are nervous habits and may disappear with time.
However, the tics in Tourette's syndrome consist of more than just a blink.
For example, people with this disorder may repeatedly move the head from side to side, blink the eyes, open the mouth, and stretch the neck.

Before a tic occurs, the person may feel an urge to perform the movements of the tic.
The tic can sometimes be postponed from seconds to hours but eventually becomes irresistible.
Some people can suppress some of the tics, usually with difficulty.
However, most people have trouble controlling the tics, especially during times of emotional stress.

This info is from the Merck Manual, Home Edition
http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec06/ch091/ch091g.html

Your husband may need to be examined by a neurologist.

Carol
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Does sound like Tourettes more than anything else to me. Tourettes exists on a spectrum and manifests more in some situations than others. I am borderline Tourettes myself, not enough to warrant a full diagnosis though, but having seen myself on video I have definate mannerisms when I speak such as throwing my head to one side.

OCD is more complex, one manifestation is obsessing about illness and contamination, I think the obsessive thoughts have to be there for OCD.

Some behaviors can seem ritualistic, but for OCD rituals you need a psycological reason for the performance, or anxiety about the consequences of not observing them so it sounds more like a mild case of Tourettes to me.

There are other conditions that involve ritualistic behaviour and stereotypical mannerisms (often called stim's ) such as Autism/Asperger's syndrome. However they would involve a lot else besides a few tics.
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My son has a tourette's diagnosis, and I went to a seminar on this and similar disorders several years ago, and the presenting drs suggested that disorders such as adhd, tourettes, ocd have a great deal of crossover, or are on a spectrum... I don't recall the exact way they phrased it.  My son had adhd, then developed tics (now controlled by meds), head/neck tics, sometimes tics where he would roll a foot in, vocal tics, biting his lip tics, and also some ocd type behaviors, smells everything, sometimes repeatedly touches things (for instance, a pasta spoon that had ridges along one side -- it was a dragon design thing -- he couldn't stop running his fingers over the ridges and asked me to take it away from him), when he was younger, he would constantly play with the car door locks, twist house doorknobs, turn lights off and on repeatedly, he's very particular about the way things are put away in his room, and he hates anything dirty touching his hands (he's a clean freak,but doesn't wash his hands over and over again), etc.   He doesn't do the repetitive behaviors like he used to (since being on medication), but he is still very particular about some things and still has a big issue with things he perceives as dirty (won't touch them). (He's 17, keeps his room clean, sometimes takes 2 baths a day (he loves bubble baths, has taken baths his whole life), won't wear the same shirt or pants more than once before it goes in the laundry (and always puts on clean clothes after each bath), and insists on having clean sheets on his bed weekly. Recently, he's been very annoyed with his hair and has been shaving his head.  He doesn't like the feel of his hair for some reason.  Not the typical teenage boy.)

He takes a drug called orap, and that has completely eliminated the tics.  He has had no side effects from this drug and has been taking it for several years now.  

I understand about the annoying factor.  But we all have things that annoy others, to one degree or another.  When my son was younger, I remember being really annoyed with a lot of things but tried my best to ignore those things, as I understood he really couldn't control what he was doing.  Now, some of his ocd tendencies have a positive side to them.
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One more comment about OCD.  I have known a few people in my lifetime with OCD and none of them, including myself, obsessed inordinately about their health.  Although some people with OCD wash their hands frequently to avoid contracting anything, that is not the same thing as excessively worrying about one's health or imagining one has health problems that they do not have (hypochondriasis).  Even many doctors are misinformed about this.  That was the biggest contributing factor to (in my case) its taking me 13 years to get a diagnosis for my totally unrelated neurologic problem--because the doctors thought my symptoms were due to my "OCD-like personality."  I never worried about my health until the age of 31 when I actually GOT sick.  

All I can say, Shannon, is God-forbid if your husband does have OCD that he ever ALSO gets a serious illness.  He is going to have a long, long battle to fight to convince doctors he is really ill, especially if tests aren't revealing.

Also, I didn't mean to imply that it couldn't be Tourette's as well.  I just wanted to share what I know first-hand about OCD and the compulsion to move certain parts of the face.  The info on Tourette's given by Carol was good and he could have this.
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Shannon,

Does your husband have other compulsive behaviors or obsessive thoughts?  Does he check things over and over (stove, door handles, window locks, etc.)  wash his hands a lot, not want to touch certain things, have to do things in a certain order?  Ask him if he has any kind of obsessive thoughts as well (does he spell things repeatedly in his head, count over and over or up to a certain number, etc.)?  

I have had OCD my entire life and, yes, people with OCD can/do engage in certain compulsive voluntary movements they make with their faces, etc. (not  involuntary tics as seen in Tourtette's), but all the same basically impossible to control/not do.  When I was a child I used to clear my throat incessantly (felt the constant urge to), used to sniff repeatedly with my nose (in fact I still do both some).  So the constant blinking and other facial movements your husband has could very well be due to OCD.  In fact, I believe  there is some kind of link between OCD and Tourette's found in the research/biochemically (haven't read on it in a while, though), which doesn't surprise me, because constant throat clearing (and other idiosyncratic behaviors) are also seen in Tourette's syndrome.  

Yes, there are medications that may help.  Lots of psychologists/therapists think cognitive therapy is most helpful (it didn't help me any), most agree that a combination of cognitive therapy and meds are most helpful, and some people like me got a lot of help just from a drug.  I took Anafranil years ago, but there are other drugs used for OCD-Paxil, Prozac, and some of the even newer ones.  Also, OCD is hereditary in many cases.  Ask your husband if anyone in his family has similar behaviors/thoughts.  He should go to a psychiatrist/psychololgist who knows something about OCD and see if that is indeed his problem.  
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192055 tn?1263559137
Wowww, thank you all for all the amazing responses!

My husband does the constand sniffing/clearing his throat thing too.

He said that when he was a child he had ADHD.


And to RockRose, It doesn't matter what he has... Tics, OCD... hell, even 1 leg, I would still love him. Just because there is something wrong with him means nothing to me! I don't bug him about it! I'm just wondering what it is!


I want to say its tics, only because it doesnt seem like he has a neurological problem as extreme as OCD.

Drug called orap huh? That sounds like its helpful. No side effects!

There are a few things I just noticed after reading some responses that may go along with this topic... like he likes to only eat with forks (too see his food unlike spoons)... and at the house, he only allows his mom and wife to touch his food, haha.


Thanks so much for the info everyone! I will show him this and talk to him about it, possibly go see a doc!!  THANKS!!!
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Thank you for sharing about your son.  It was very interesting to hear about someone with a Tourette's diagnosis.  I was amazed at all the similarities between Tourette's symptoms and OCD symptoms.  Many of his OCD-type behaviors (and I do not have Tourette's) I also have-the smelling things (things one would not normally choose to smell, too), not wanting dirty clothes to touch clean skin, touching things over and over, etc.  The first time I heard about (or thought there might be) a link between OCD and Tourette's was on one of the news magazine shows (Primetime or Dateline, I believe) several years back where they mentioned that some people with Tourette's clear their throats incessantly and either cough or sniff deeply (all of which I still do/did as a child).  When I was a kid they didn't even know what OCD was-I didn't get dxd until my early 20s (about 21 years ago).  It looks like they are learning more about OCD and Tourette's (didn't know about the ADHD) and the connection among them.
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DUH!
IT IS TOTALLY OCD!!
I AM DIAGNOSED WITH OCD AND I HAVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE SYMPTOMS.
DONT DIVORCE!!!!!!
TRHERAPY AND MEDS--BEST BET!!!
JUST STRUGGLE THROUGH IT UNTIL HE GETS HELP!!!
IF YOU THINK ITS HARD TO BE AROUND IT, THINK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO BE AROUND AND HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT AND HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO IT!!!!!!!!!
TRUST ME HAVING OCD IS MISERABLE!!
GIVE HIM SYMPOTHY.
IT MAY SEEM HARD FOR YOU BUT TRUST ME, ITS HELL FOR HIM!!!

-MATT
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Hi,
  I'm 31 years old and when my daughter was born she had several complications that threatened taking her life. Shortly thereafter I started doing odd things like constantly checking odd places for odd things and such. I just ignored it as stress until finally one day I was driving, with my daughter in the car, and I got real sick and started feeling really weird. I almost wrecked into a building. I went to the Dr. and I was diagnosed with OCD. It turns out it was triggered from the traumatic event of my daughter. I also started having panic/anxiety attacks. Meds DO help. Now I tell you this because the symptoms you describe does not sound like OCD to me BUT everyone is different. You need to try to get him to go to his DR. he doesn't have to go to a shrink. His normal dr. can diagnose and in  most cases medicate. Don't give up yet, but I will tell you it COULD get worse before it gets better but remember he can't help it but meds make it easier and livable. Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.
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Hi Shannon,
My dad, 56 yrs old, is diagnosed with OCD and TS
He had few tics when he was about 10 yrs old.. But his tics rapidly increased once he was about 20 -25 yrs old....
He repeats odd actions like head banging against door, walls,
switching buttons on-off,
circling around the room,
some weird sounds like humming, rituals etc,
blinking of eyes, rubbing himself against wall,
driving in a weird way and in circles,
and many more like that....
My heart breaks every time I see him doing those actions- he is on Medications and had done Therapy..
Its a constant struggle for my mom and I understand how it must be for you to see your loved one to go through this...
I did a lot of research and found out a link between Mercury amalgam and TS..
My dad is Dental Surgeon and had to deal a lot with Mercury fillings and it is the same time when Tics were triggered...
Meds and Therapy - I hope it helps
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I know this is late but I have studied a lot about neurological disorders because I would like to become a neurologist.  Most likely your husband has mild tic disorder or just tics rather than Tourette Syndrome.  This is because Tourette's usually starts in people around the ages of 7 to 10 and sometimes disappears a little bit in early adulthood, and you are first noticing these tics at the age of 20.  Also, to diagnose a person with Tourette's, the person had to have developed the tics before the age of 18, had to have several tics for at least one year, and can't have any other neurological disorder that may be the cause of the tics.  Therefore, if your husband's tics are caused by OCD, then he does not have Tourette's.  I hope this helps if you see it and I know how you feel considering the fact that my father had Tourette's as a child but now just basically has OCD and my sister has Tourette's which is most likely from my father's genes.
P.S. There are medicines available but my sister's neurologist said unless the tics really interfere with everyday life, there is no reason to go on medication.  Also some medications cause depression.
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I would like to make sure people understand that Tourette's is not necessarily limiting. I am diagnosed with TS, severe OCD, and MDD and am a physician, wife, mother, and graduate student. Sometimes the tics drive my husband crazy, but he will leave the room and get over it. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but I know they wax and wane, and every exacerbation is temporary (tics between exacerbations are easier to keep to myself). Med school, with it's stressors and especially having my 2 children in the middle of it, really made the TS and OCD flare, but medications when necessary, and otherwise just accepting that this is me takes care of it and lets me get on with living!
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