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Tics vs. OCD

Are Tics a Compulsion?

Motor tic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are two separate conditions.

However, some researchers believe that habit disorders and Tourette’s syndrome (TS) are part of a spectrum of obsessive-compulsive disorders.

In fact, it is reported that around 30% of people with TS also have a form of OCD.

What is the difference between tic disorders and OCD?
Characteristics of a sensory tic Characteristics of a compulsion
  • involuntary and recurring
  • impulsive
  • aims to reduce muscle tension
    e.g., sniffling
  • recurring
  • intentional
  • aims to prevent an anxiety-inducing event
    e.g., washing one’s hands to avoid contamination
Characteristics of a mental tic Characteristics of an obsession
  • the content of the thought is quite pleasant
  • aims to reduce general tension
    e.g., repeatedly humming the chorus of a song
  •  the content of the thought is horrifying
  • generated by anxiety
    e.g., believing one has developed a serious disease, such as AIDS