Doctors Warn That Social Media Could Be Causing ‘Functional Tic Disorder’
Functional Tic Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Tourette syndrome. But Dr. Isaacs says there are some differences.
Functional Tic Disorder — It's a condition neurologists say could be influenced by videos on social media, some of which are about tics and Tourette syndrome.
"There's been an influx, a huge influx, over the past year," Dr. David Isaacs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Neurology assistant professor and Division of Pediatric Neurology Pediatrics assistant professor, said.
"Flailing movements of their arms. Even self injuries. So they're, you know, striking themselves. You know, just where there's multiple steps to a sequence, you know, and these movements or they're saying entire phrases, you know, swearing."
Dr. David Isaacs thinks the visual aspect of social media is having an impact.
"I do think that all of the disruption of the routine and the stress that had been, you know, either directly or indirectly, due to COVID, I think that has to be a factor," he noted.
Functional Tic Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Tourette syndrome. But Dr. Isaacs says Tourette tics develop slowly from early childhood and require different treatment, whereas, with functional tic disorder, the tics are severe and come on suddenly.
"It's frightening for a lot of people because they're, you know, doing well and then suddenly have all this where many of them have to leave school or, you know, it's really disruptive," he added.
Disruptive, but thankfully once diagnosed, through therapy and counseling, there is hope for recovery.
Even so, Dr. Isaacs says more research needs to be done.
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