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Functional Tics

Functional Movement Disorder (FMD)
Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)

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What are
Functional Tics?

Functional Tics can present similarly to genetic tics, but the root cause differs. It is also important to remember that it is possible to have both genetic tics (like Tourette's) and Functional Tics. Functional Tics are caused by a "miscommunication" within the brain, where your brain gets stuck in a loop, causing your body to receive the wrong signals. 

Functional neurological disorder (FND) describes a problem with how the brain receives and sends information to the rest of the body.

FND features nervous system (neurological) symptoms that can't be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. However, the symptoms are real and cause significant distress or problems functioning.


Functional neurologic disorder is related to how the brain functions, rather than damage to the brain's structure.

It's often helpful to think of your brain as a computer. In someone who has FND, there's no damage to the hardware, or structure, of the brain. It's the software, or program running on the computer, that isn't working properly. 

Functional Tics are the physical, observable reaction of our intense, internal emotional struggles.

When suffering from functional symptoms, our brain often miss interprets the sensory signals. 

Typically Functional Tics begin in the teenage years or young adulthood but can occur at any age. They are also more common in females or people assigned female at birth. Functional Tics are a part of Functional Neurological Disorder (FND); this means that in addition to Functional Tics, you may experience other symptoms of FND like fatigue, pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, IBS, dissociative/non-epileptic seizures, limb weakness, along with many other symptoms. It is important to note that not everyone with Functional Tics will have additional symptoms.

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Why does FND happen?

Functional Tics can start suddenly with no apparent cause, and it is common for Functional Tics to present as complex/dramatic movements/vocalisations from the onset. In contrast, Tourettic tics generally start as simple tics before they might slowly progress into more complex tics. With Functional Tics, you might appear to have developed Tourettes with complex tics overnight. Still, for a diagnosis of Tourette's, symptoms must have been ongoing for 365+ days and usually start in childhood.  Having functional tics for more than a year does not automatically become Tourette's.

Treatments for Functional Tics are different from those used to treat Tourette's. In fact, using traditional tic management therapy for functional tics can actually worsen them. It's really important that you have the right diagnosis. Here at Tictock we can support you with both Tourette's and functional tics. 


Depending on your symptoms, some people also find occupational therapy or physiotherapy helpful. FND can happen for a wide range of reasons. There's often more than one reason, and the reasons can vary hugely from person to person.

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Get in touch to explore this more with our functional tics therapy services

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