Facial tics in children are often caused as a symptomatic condition of Tourette syndrome. Learn more about what causes facial tics in small children and its cure by going through the article below.
Have you seen a kid making odd facial movements or blinking their eyes continuously for some time? You may feel that the child is just teasing you or trying to fool around with you. However, only when these facial movements become more apparent than before and last longer, does one realize that the child is not joking, but actually suffering from some problem. This condition is known as facial tics.
Facial tics are sporadic spasms of the facial muscles that occur repetitively. They occur in childhood and tend to resolve on their own within a few weeks or may make way into adulthood. These facial tics are four times more common in boys than girls. This condition may strike about 1/4th of all children some time in their life. These tics occur as continuous eye blinking, mouth twitching, wrinkling of the nose, squinting of eyes, clearing of the throat or grunting.
What Causes Facial Tics in Children?
The causes of facial tics is not very clear. It is thought to be triggered by stress in some cases. Sometimes, nutritional deficiencies in children like magnesium, etc. can lead to these facial spasms. Underlying conditions like Tourette syndrome may also be one of the causes. Genes have also been long-term suspects of facial tics.
Types of Facial Tics
Facial tics involve the muscles of the face, head and neck. These muscle spasms cause blinking, lip smacking, twitching, shrugging of the shoulders, etc. Some may even develop vocal tics that cause the child to cough, grunt, clear the throat, etc. As these tics are not a voluntary movement, one may not be able to control these tics. A child can develop different types of tics based on their condition. These types of tic disorders are as follows:
Transient Tic Disorders
These are simple tics that effect at least one school going child from 10 children. These tics occur in just a single muscle group. They usually last for a few months, and in some cases they take years to resolve. These symptoms of transient facial tics include squinting, blinking, wrinkling of the nose as well as snapping of the fingers and jerking of the head. Sometimes the child may develop a gurgling sound or humming sound during a tic. Some children also develop strange behavior during the tic like licking or touching objects. These tics do not require any treatment and do not cause any complications.
Chronic Tic Disorders
Chronic tic disorders affect the child for years. These tics also do not require any kind of treatment. However, these tics tend to affect the child’s confidence, especially when their peers and friends start pointing at their condition as a strange one.
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that leads to chronic tics. It leads to multiple tics as well as vocal tics. These tics are quite forceful and dramatic in nature. These tics occur in early childhood and can last for more than a year. These tics are very debilitating and embarrassing in nature. This is because it may cause coprolalia (use of obscene language) or echolalia (repetition of phrases). These children may also have other problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder as well as self harm behavior.
Treatment Facial Tics
Facial tics have a psychological impact on the child’s mind. It is very difficult to explain it to teachers, schoolmates, playmates and even people in the community that the child is suffering from tics. It is often taken as a joke and the child is often teased about his/her bizarre behavior. These tics cause the child to blink their eye or develop facial grimaces. This may lead to social embarrassment as well as awkward situations to arise. Thus, one often seeks a cure for facial tics in small children. However, there is no effective treatment for facial tics. Children maybe given medications that are very powerful. These lead to development of side effects. Thus, most of the time, doctors do not advice medications. If your child develops tics, do not panic. Often, these tics require no treatment and will resolve with time. Help the child relax and seek counseling, in case the tics are difficult to control. Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful in controlling these tics.
Facial tics in children are mostly a result of stress and anxiety. They may occur in different forms and lead to eye blinking, squinting, twitching, etc. Speak to a doctor regarding these tics and get all doubts cleared related to these sporadic spasms occurring in children.