Examples of Anxiety Tics

Examples of anxiety tics

Tics can be categorized as repetitive, fast muscle movements that result in sudden and challenging control of body jolts and sounds. Motor tics can present themselves in various ways incorporating a range of muscles within the body. Whereas vocal tics often manifest themselves through acts such as:

  • Sniffing
  • Grunting
  • Throat clearing
  • Repetitive sounds
  • Rapid blinking

Nervous tics, on the other, are involuntary movements or noises that occur in sudden bursts. Nervous tic is anxiety tics distinguished from nervous habits such as biting the skin around your fingernails or biting your lip until it bleeds; this can be a response to anxiety. If an individual begins to experience an anxiety tic, they may often urge to persist with the movement that they have simply no control over. Individuals can often suppress their movements for a certain amount of time, but that will often present the individual becoming highly overwhelmed. Numerous medics have stated that tics often develop in the early childhood years and are often more prevalent in boys than girls. 

Are tics a symptom of anxiety?

When an individual becomes anxious, they may begin experiencing various signs of tics which can include twitching of the:

  • Legs
  • Eyes
  • Arms
  • Spam in throat

These physical sensations that an individual may experience can at times last for a few days before disappearing. These tics are a symptom of anxiety when an individual becomes stressed, and their muscles tighten. When an individual becomes anxious, their body releases a chemical called adrenaline; anxiety triggers this specific chemical, also referred to as a hormone, like a flight or a fight reaction. For example, suppose an individual is walking alone at night and have to walk past a group of drunk individuals. In that case, the body will automatically begin pumping more oxygen and blood into your muscles and lungs, so safely walk past the group of individuals who have set off your anxiety which will be your fight mode, or change direction, which will be your flight mode. Medical professionals have stated that anxiety tics predominantly occur when the body is forced into survival mode. 

A range of anxiety disorders have tics among the main symptoms of that disorder. However, it should be stated that anxiety disorders, in general, are not the most common cause of tics. 

How anxiety causes tics

Anxiety disorders, in general, will automatically trigger the release of neurotransmitters which are used by the body to send vital messages to the individual’s muscles. When an individual begins experiencing anxiety, the release of the neurotransmitters will begin triggering muscles movement despite there being no need for it. As a result of these chemicals, your body will start to twitch or hyperventilate, another side effect of an anxiety disorder. 

Types of anxiety tics

Anxiety tics are split into two types and are preferred as complex and straightforward. Simple tics will generally only last a few seconds with, more often than not, muscles involvement which can be seen to include but is not limited to:

  • Blinks
  • Neck jerking
  • Throat clearing
  • Facial grimacing
  • Grunting
  • Sniffing

On the other hand, complex anxiety tics will generally last longer than simple tics and will more often than not engage multiple muscles at one time. Complex anxiety tics can be seen to include but are not limited to:

  • Squatting
  • Hand motions
  • Jumping
  • Repeatedly smelling an object
  • Repeatedly touching an object

Complex vocal anxiety tics can include but are not limited to:

  • Uttering complete sentences 
  • Uttering obscene words
  • Repeated speech
  • Repeating other individuals’ speech

When to seek help

Anxiety tics can take their toll on an individual’s body and mental state. They can quickly become embarrassing and uncomfortable. Due to tics being a generic symptom of anxiety, learning to manage your stress levels by learning meditation techniques can help your manage or treat your tics. 

If you find your anxiety disorder has begun to interfere with the happiness of your life, our San Diego mental health treatment services allow our clients like you to work closely with our medical professionals to create a customized treatment plan that works around you.

Our certified mental health staff has an outstanding reputation, alongside SHORELINE Recovery Center | Alcohol and Drug Rehab San Diego maintaining a five-star reputation for over 5 consecutive years.


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