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Tourettic OCD

Tourettic OCD is a term used to describe the coexistence of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) within an individual.

What is Tourettic OCD?

Tourettic OCD is a term used to describe the coexistence of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) within an individual. Tourette Syndrome is characterized by the presence of tics—sudden, repetitive, and involuntary movements or vocalizations. In contrast, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder involves persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions).

Patients with this disorder present a combination of Tourette Syndrome and OCD, meaning, both tic-related symptoms and OCD symptoms. The co-occurrence of tics and obsessive-compulsive symptoms can vary in severity and impact on daily functioning.

While the exact cause of Tourettic OCD is not fully understood, there may be shared underlying neurobiological factors contributing to the development of both conditions. Genetic and environmental factors are also believed to play a role in the manifestation of Tourettic OCD.

Treatment for Tourettic OCD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combined with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is an effective approach for managing Tourettic Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), helping individuals alleviate distressing obsessions and compulsions while addressing tic-related symptoms. At Light On Anxiety, our specialized therapists offer compassionate and evidence-based care tailored to the unique needs of individuals struggling with Tourettic OCD.

In CBT sessions, clients learn to:

  • Identify and challenge maladaptive thought patterns and beliefs related to their obsessions and compulsions.
  • Develop coping strategies to manage anxiety and distress.
  • gradually confront and tolerate uncertainty through ERP exercises.

ERP involves exposing oneself to feared situations or thoughts while refraining from engaging in compulsive behaviors or rituals. By learning to manage their symptoms and reduce their reliance on compulsions, individuals can experience greater symptom relief and improved quality of life. 


Medication may be considered in the treatment of Tourettic OCD, particularly for individuals experiencing moderate to severe symptoms or those who do not fully respond to therapy alone. At Light On Anxiety, our team of psychiatric providers collaborates closely with clients to assess their unique needs and develop personalized medication regimens.

Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be prescribed to target symptoms of anxiety, depression, or tics associated with Tourettic OCD. Our approach to medication management prioritizes safety, efficacy, and collaboration with clients to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment for their symptoms while minimizing potential side effects.

Integrating CBT + Medication

A combined approach of therapy, including CBT and ERP, and medication management may provide comprehensive support for individuals struggling with Tourettic OCD. At Light On Anxiety, we offer integrated treatment plans that address both the psychological and physiological aspects of the disorder. Our therapists and psychiatric providers work closely together with clients to tailor treatment plans to their individual needs and preferences.

  • CBT and ERP help individuals develop coping skills, challenge negative thoughts, and confront their fears,.
  • Medication management targets symptoms of anxiety, depression, or tics, providing additional support and relief.

Through this combined approach, we empower clients to overcome Tourettic OCD and improve their overall quality of life.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From Tourettic OCD 

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Tourettic OCD?

Some symptoms of Tourettic OCD may include:

Sudden, repetitive, and involuntary movements (motor tics) or vocalizations (vocal tics).
Persistent, intrusive, and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that cause significant anxiety or distress.

Repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed in response to the obsessions to reduce anxiety or prevent a feared event.

Obsessive thoughts related to tics, such as fear of losing control over tics or concerns about the social impact of tics.

Ritualistic behaviors resembling tics, performed in an attempt to alleviate obsessive thoughts or prevent perceived harm.

FAQs about Tourettic OCD

“Just Right” OCD and Tourettic OCD, while related, represent distinct conditions. “Just Right” OCD is a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder characterized by distressing obsessions related to a sense of incompleteness or the need for things to feel “just right.” The associated compulsions often involve repetitive actions aimed at achieving a specific level of perfection or completeness. On the other hand, Tourettic OCD specifically denotes the coexistence of Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Individuals with Tourettic OCD experience both the involuntary movements or vocalizations (tics) characteristic of Tourette Syndrome and the obsessions and compulsions characteristic of OCD. While there may be some overlap in symptoms, such as ritualistic behaviors, the distinction lies in the primary focus and combination of symptoms in Tourettic OCD.

The subjective experience can vary widely, but it often involves a sense of internal struggle and anxiety related to both the tics and the obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The obsessions may revolve around fears related to the tics, while the compulsions could involve ritualistic behaviors aimed at alleviating the distress.

Effectively calming a Tourettic OCD episode involves implementing various strategies, recognizing the unique nature of each individual’s experience. One approach is to engage in mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, to alleviate anxiety. Identifying triggers for both tics and obsessive-compulsive symptoms is essential, as understanding these triggers can help in managing the episode. Creating a designated safe space provides a sense of security, offering a retreat during challenging moments. Delaying responses to compulsions and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals are crucial aspects of managing Tourettic OCD episodes. Additionally, engaging in enjoyable and distracting activities can divert attention from distressing thoughts or tics.

There is evidence to suggest that both Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can have a genetic component, and there may be a genetic link between the two. However, the precise genetic factors contributing to Tourettic OCD are still being researched.

More About Treatment for Anxiety

What is CBT & ERP for OCD?

Light On Anxiety CEO Dr Debra Kissen describes how CBT & ERP helps clients move past OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Learn more about how we can create a custom individual treatment plan to fit your goals.

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