Background and purpose: Between 2019 and 2022, there was a marked rise in adolescents/young adults seeking urgent help for functional tic-like behaviours (FTLBs). Given the global scale of this phenomenon, we aimed to pool cases from different institutions in an international registry to better characterize this spectrum and facilitate future longitudinal observation. Methods: An international collaborative group from 10 tertiary referral centres for tic disorders collected retrospective data on FTLB patients who sought specialists' attention between the last quarter of 2019 and June 2022. An audit procedure was used for collection of data, which comprised demographics, course of presentation and duration, precipitating and predisposing factors, phenomenology, comorbidities, and pharmacological treatment outcome. Results: During the study period, we collected data on 294 patients with FTLBs, 97% of whom were adolescents and young adults and 87% of whom were female. FTLBs were found to have a peak of severity within 1 month in 70% of patients, with spontaneous remissions in 20%, and a very high frequency of complex movements (85%) and vocalizations (81%). Less than one-fifth of patients had pre-existing primary tic disorder, 66% had comorbid anxiety disorders, 28% comorbid depressive disorders, 24% autism spectrum disorder and 23% attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Almost 60% explicitly reported exposure to tic-related social media content. The vast majority of pharmacologically treated patients did not report benefit with tic-suppressing medications. Conclusions: Our data from the largest multicentre registry of FTLBs to date confirm substantial clinical differences from primary tic disorders. Social modelling was the most relevant contributing factor during the pandemic. Future longitudinal analyses from this database may help understand treatment approaches and responsiveness.

The spectrum of functional tic-like behaviours: Data from an international registry

Rizzo, Renata;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background and purpose: Between 2019 and 2022, there was a marked rise in adolescents/young adults seeking urgent help for functional tic-like behaviours (FTLBs). Given the global scale of this phenomenon, we aimed to pool cases from different institutions in an international registry to better characterize this spectrum and facilitate future longitudinal observation. Methods: An international collaborative group from 10 tertiary referral centres for tic disorders collected retrospective data on FTLB patients who sought specialists' attention between the last quarter of 2019 and June 2022. An audit procedure was used for collection of data, which comprised demographics, course of presentation and duration, precipitating and predisposing factors, phenomenology, comorbidities, and pharmacological treatment outcome. Results: During the study period, we collected data on 294 patients with FTLBs, 97% of whom were adolescents and young adults and 87% of whom were female. FTLBs were found to have a peak of severity within 1 month in 70% of patients, with spontaneous remissions in 20%, and a very high frequency of complex movements (85%) and vocalizations (81%). Less than one-fifth of patients had pre-existing primary tic disorder, 66% had comorbid anxiety disorders, 28% comorbid depressive disorders, 24% autism spectrum disorder and 23% attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Almost 60% explicitly reported exposure to tic-related social media content. The vast majority of pharmacologically treated patients did not report benefit with tic-suppressing medications. Conclusions: Our data from the largest multicentre registry of FTLBs to date confirm substantial clinical differences from primary tic disorders. Social modelling was the most relevant contributing factor during the pandemic. Future longitudinal analyses from this database may help understand treatment approaches and responsiveness.
2023
functional neurological disorder
tic disorder
tic-like behaviours
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/549442
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