TikTok became outrageously popular during the pandemic. Millions of people all over the world spend hours every day scrolling through the short videos featured on the TikTok app. Also, during this time healthcare providers around the world have seen an increase in neurological tics in teenage girls and hypothesize that they could be related to TikTok.
These tics are similar to Tourette syndrome, which causes a person to have uncontrollable physical movements and verbal sounds. Tourette syndrome is not very common but during the pandemic healthcare providers started seeing an increase in teen girls who were having tics that are similar to those of Tourette syndrome. This was identified as unusual because Tourette’s is more common in boys and the age of onset is usually 5 to 7 years old.
Pediatric neurologist Dr. Mohammed Aldosari was quoted saying, “Initially, everyone thought they were seeing an isolated phenomenon, but it turns out that we’re all seeing it — a different age of onset, and disturbingly, an explosive onset. In just a few hours, maybe a day or two, girls who have no history of tics suddenly start to experience a lot of movement and vocalization.”
Healthcare providers then started to notice that these teen patients with new-onset tics were having similar tics to each other. In Tourette syndrome, every individual has different and unique tics to them. Some of the most common tics that these teens were having were:
- Saying random words or phrases such as beans, woo-hoo, flying shark, curse words, and obscene phrases
- Hand and arm movements such as clapping and pointing
- Hitting or banging themselves, other people, or objects
Healthcare providers have concluded that these teens do not have Tourette syndrome and believe these tics are caused by stress and anxiety. Per Dr. Aldosari, “These tics are a complex way for the brain to release overwhelming stress. Essentially, their brains express an emotional stressor as a physical disorder.”
Since teenage girls are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than boys, that is why they have seen these tics more in females. To treat these tics, behavioral therapy and decreasing social media use are recommended. To read more from the original article click here.
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, January 3). Is tik tok causing tics in teen girls? Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/tiktok-causing-tics-in-teen-girls