Teenage girls suffer "explosion of tics" as result of anxiety in COVID-19 lockdown: UK doctors

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LONDON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- British doctors said Sunday that more teenage girls in Britain have developed tic disorders and Tourette's syndrome during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, and they believe this has been triggered by anxiety amid the lockdown.

Psychiatrists, in an article due to be published Sunday in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, reported an "explosion of tics", which they believe has been triggered by stress and anxiety, with many posting tics on social media platforms like TikTok.

Hospitals including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Evelina London Children's Hospital have seen a surge in referrals since the pandemic began, primarily in adolescent girls.

"The new surge of referrals consists of adolescent girls with sudden onset of motor and phonic tics of a complex and bizarre nature," the doctors wrote. "If it continues (this) would amount to 150 to 200 cases per year and effectively double the referral rate."

Anne Longfield, in her final speech as children's commissioner for England last month, warned that it was "impossible to overstate" how damaging the past year has been.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Britain, paediatricians and child mental health practitioners have noticed an increase in tic symptoms in some children and adolescents already diagnosed with tic disorders.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

Tics are fast, repetitive muscle movements that result in sudden and difficult to control body jolts or sounds.

They're fairly common in childhood and typically first appear at around five years of age. Very occasionally they can start in adulthood.

Tics are not usually serious and normally improve over time. But they can be frustrating and interfere with everyday activities. Enditem

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