There are no specific tests for diagnosing Tourette's; it is not always correctly identified because most cases are mild and the severity of tics decreases for most children as they pass through adolescence.
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Tourette's was classified by the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as one of several tic disorders "usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence" according to type (motor or phonic tics) and duration (transient or chronic).
Transient tic disorders consisted of multiple motor tics, phonic tics or both, with a duration between four weeks and twelve months.
The most common, first-presenting tics are eye blinking, facial movements, sniffing and throat clearing.
Initial tics present most frequently in midline body regions where there are many muscles, usually the head, neck and facial region.
Waxing and waning—the ongoing increase and decrease in severity and frequency of tics—occurs differently in each individual.