This disorder, formerly known as Transient Tic Disorder, involves single or multiple motor and/or vocal tics that arise in the early developmental years. Considerably common in developing children (school-age, under 18 years of age), transient tics occur in 3-8 per 1,000 children.

Tics can be either simple or complex. Simple motor tics are of short duration (i.e., milliseconds) and can include blinking, shrugging the shoulders, and extending extremities. Simple vocal tics include throat clearing, sniffing, and grunting often caused by contraction of the diaphragm or pharynx muscles.

Complex motor tics are of longer duration (i.e., seconds) and often include a combination of simple tics such as simultaneous head turning and shoulder shrugging. Complex tics can appear purposeful, such as a tic-like sexual or obscene gesture, or a tic-like imitation of someone else’s movements (mimicking). Similarly, complex vocal tics include repeating one’s own sounds or words, or uttering socially unacceptable words, including obscenities or ethnic, racial, or religious slurs.

These tics must have been present for less than 1 year since the first tic onset — hence the designation “provisional” or “transient.”

This disorder cannot be better accounted for by Tourette’s disorder.

The tics cannot be due to a general medical condition, like Huntington’s disease, or due to the physiological effects of a substance, such as cocaine.


This entry has been added in line with updated (2013) DSM-5 criteria; diagnostic code: 307.21.