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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?

13 Responses
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.
Avatar universal
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

Your husband may need to be examined by a neurologist.

Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal

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.  
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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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