Tics, such as twitching of the eyes, jerking of the neck, clearing the throat or coughing, and a mixture of movements and sounds are symptoms of Tourette's disorder, notes WebMD. The patterns of tics are different from person to person and may manifest in a few seconds or last a few minutes.
Tourette's disorder starts in childhood, with tics appearing usually around the age of 2, and children with the condition may have their worst tics by age 12 before experiencing a gradual decrease in the severity and frequency of their symptoms. Heredity is a factor in Tourette's disorder, and doctors believe other things that increase risk are mothers who had severe nausea and vomiting in the first three months of their pregnancies and mothers who smoked cigarettes, consumed alcohol or drank a lot of coffee during their pregnancies. A baby who weighs less than his identical twin or has low birth weight, signs of brain injury or enlargement, and lack of oxygen or blood supply during birth is also at risk for Tourette's disorder, explains WebMD.
While Tourette's disorder may cause people to have consistently building urges only relieved by performing tics, they may be unaware of the need. There are no tests to diagnose Tourette's, but doctors can make diagnoses based on medical histories and symptoms, according to WebMD. They may also order tests to detect other problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.