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Tourettic OCD is not a formal diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) but rather an unofficial term that refers to the overlap of Tourette Syndrome and OCD. The symptom set is comprised of tics that are intentionally performed in order to relieve the anxiety and distress associated with OCD. The tics are preceded by a strong desire to perform the tic called a premonitory urge that can feel like tension or an itch. Oftentimes, the subtype of OCD that is most fitting is Just Right OCD. Tics and compulsions have the same function, which is to relieve anxiety, distress or uncertainty in the case of OCD. Tics observed with Tourettic OCD look similar to the complex tics associated with Tourette Syndrome. 

Differences between Tourette Syndrome

  • DSM-5 diagnostic category - Tourette Syndrome is housed under "Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Childhood" whereas OCD is classified under the anxiety disorders

  • treatment - the evidence-based treatment for Tourette Syndrome is Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) whereas the evidenced-based treatment for OCD is cognitive behavior therapy with exposure and response prevention 

  • pharmacological treatment - the evidence-based medications for Tourette Syndrome and OCD work on different parts of the brain

  • progression of the disorder

  • etiology or causal factors

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