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TikTok Tics: What’s Causing a Surge in Tic Disorders Among Teens?

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When emergency room visits for tic disorders tripled among adolescent girls during the pandemic, the medical community got worried.

Was this yet more mental-health fallout from COVID? Was social media partly to blame?Since 2020, a record number of teens with dramatic and unusual displays of tic disorders — exaggerated jerky movements and verbal outbursts — have flooded into emergency departments and clinicians’ offices seeking immediate treatment.

In many cases, the young patients had never been diagnosed with tic disorders, such as Tourette disorder.Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) observed this concerning trend based on documented emergency department visits by children seeking treatment for tic disorders.

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