Physicians across the globe are reporting a rise in teen girls developing tics, and some have listed anxiety, depression and TikTok as contributing factors. A recent report by The Wall Street Journal noted that the surge in such cases began around the start of the pandemic, alarming parents and doctors alike.
A number of medical journal articles have found that teen girls were watching TikTok videos of people who claimed to have Tourette Syndrome — a genetic nervous system disorder that can cause tics, repetitive, involuntary movements, or sounds, VOA News reported. Surprisingly, this has caused girls to develop tics, though the disorder is said to mostly impact boys and typically starts when a person is young and progresses over time. Dr Kirsten Müller-Vahl, of Hanover, Germany, told the Jerusalem Post that she’s now seeing an increasing number of teen and young adult females coming in with tics.
According to the Journal, albeit there’s no national or international data compiled to show the extent of the issue, some medical centers are reporting seeing as much as 10 times their usual cases of tics. By comparison, these centers would see one or two cases a month before the pandemic — but now are seeing between 10 or 20 a month.
Doctors in multiple countries are reporting a rise in teen girls developing tics, and that anxiety, depression, and TikTok could be contributing factors.
The rise began around the start of the pandemic and has alarmed and puzzled doctors, The Wall Street Journal reported. Several medical journal articles found the teen girls were watching TikTok videos of people who said they had Tourette syndrome.
Tourette syndrome is a genetic nervous-system disorder, according to VOA News, and can cause tics, repetitive, involuntary movements, or sounds. The disorder mostly impacts boys and the tics typically start when a person is young and then develop over time.
Dr. Kirsten Müller-Vahl, a doctor based in Hanover, Germany told the Jerusalem Post that she has been seeing more and more teen and young adult girls coming in with tics. Müller-Vahl, who has treated Tourette’s for 25 years, said while people who have the disorder usually have their own unique tics, the girls she was seeing recently had the same ones.
While there’s no national or international data compiled on the extent of the issue, The Journal reported that some medical centers are seeing as much as 10 times their usual cases of tics. Before the pandemic, centers would see one or two cases a month, but now some say they’re seeing between 10 or 20 a month.
Doctors note that stress symptoms often appear in exactly the forms that patients have previously observed in other people. When UK specialists began studying the phenomenon of tic in girls in January 2021, videos using the hashtag #tourettes on TikTok had a total of about 1.25 billion views. Since then, the figure has grown to 4.8 billion.
Some doctors note that cases of “contagious”
neurological disorders have occurred in the past, but were geographically limited. Now social media is helping them spread faster. A spokesperson for TikTok told the publication that the safety and well-being of users is a priority for the service, and it is consulting with experts to better understand the situation.
That said, not all doctors see a direct link between TikTok viewing and tics in adolescent girls, suggesting a variety of factors, including anxiety, depression, and stress, may contribute to the disorder.
Earlier it became known that Facebook researchers recorded a possible connection between psychological problems in adolescents, in particular rejection of their own body, and the use of Instagram.
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that disrupts a person’s ability to communicate or control their emotions, movements and behaviors. Tourette syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Many people with the disorder have tics, or involuntary movements or sounds, such as eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, facial grimacing, rapid throat clearing, shouting, repeating words, or grunting.
People with Tourette syndrome often also experience other disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Tics, or ticks, are involuntary, repetitive movements of certain muscles. Tics can affect different parts of the body and are most often caused by involuntary muscle activity. Tics usually don’t cause any pain or discomfort.
If your child has tics, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a medical cause. They may have tics because of stress, anxiety, or frustration. They usually begin during childhood and adolescence, although tics can occur at any age. They usually stop by the time people are in their 40s or 50s.
Tics can be mild or severe. Mild tics cause no noticeable changes to a person’s appearance, while severe tics can include difficulty swallowing, blinking, or talking. There is no known cure for tics. Medicines, therapy, or a change in behavior can sometimes help control tics. Tics are caused by an overactive part of the brain. Sometimes they are caused by other brain or nervous system problems.