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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Repetitive Behavior

11/15/2006

Question:

Hello, my 7 year old boy started repetitious touching of the ground which would stop him in his tracks at about age 5. Several weeks later it would turn into a different repetitive behavior such as smelling his pens and pencils, then weeks later it would be a vocal sound, now, he is touching things again and licking things quickly- and says he feels he just has to do it. This has been embarrassing for him but not debilitating. What is going on?

Answer:

It sounds like this repetitive behavior may be tic behaviors which are also accompanied by vocal tics.  I would think he should be evaluated by a pediatric neurologist or behavioral specialist to rule out Tourette Syndrome, a neurologic disorder of repetitive behaviors.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati