Studies Show An Increase in Tics in Teens Due to Depression, Anxiety, and TikTok

In countries all over, doctors are concerned about a reported increase of tics in teen girls, with anxiety, depression, and TikTok being the contributing factor.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the spike began around the pandemic’s onset, alarming and confusing doctors. The teen girls were discovered watching TikTok videos of people who claimed to have Tourette syndrome, according to several medical journal publications.

According to VOA News, Tourette syndrome is a genetic nervous-system illness that causes tics, repetitive, involuntary movements, or sounds. The illness primarily affects boys, and the tics usually begin while they are young and progress over time.

Dr. Kirsten Müller-Vahl of Hanover, Germany, told the Jerusalem Post that she is witnessing an increasing number of teens and young adult girls with tics. Müller-Vahl, who has been treating Tourette’s for 25 years, said that while people with the illness often have their own set of tics, the girls she saw recently had the same ones. She soon realized that the patients were imitating the tics of a German YouTuber who vlogged her experience with the disorder on the internet.

Though no national or international data has been compiled on the scope of the problem, The Journal noted that some medical institutes are seeing ten times the normal number of tics cases. Before the pandemic, centers saw one or two cases per month, but now they’re seeing 10 to 20 each month.

Caroline Olvera, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told The Journal that she witnessed numerous patients, including those who didn’t speak English, blurting out the word “beans” with a British accent. It was then discovered that one of the top British TikTokers would frequently utter the phrase “beans.”

It’s not Tourette’s, but a functional movement disorder, according to doctors. They also informed The Journal that many of the children who had tics had been diagnosed with anxiety or depression before the epidemic, which was exacerbated by the outbreak.

According to Mariam Hull, a child neurologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, psychiatric problems used to be primarily confined to geographical places, but social media has allowed them to spread globally.

She told The Wall Street Journal that while seeing one video is unlikely to cause a tic, TikTok’s algorithm ensures that children are exposed to similar movies on a regular basis.

“Some kids have pulled out their phones and showed me their TikTok, and it’s full of these Tourette cooking and alphabet challenges,” Hull said.

According to Business Insider, the Jerusalem Post reported that the illness is treatable. Doctors are recommending children take social media breaks and that parents monitor the types of videos their children are seeing. In addition, if a child’s tics are interfering with daily life, parents should seek professional help.

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Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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