Psychiatry

OCD, Tic Disorders, and Tourettes Syndrome

If you or a loved one is struggling with tics, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or other anxiety-related conditions, Mount Sinai can help. We have a team of highly trained and experienced specialists. We offer high quality, sensitive and comprehensive care.

At Mount Sinai, our adult and child psychiatrists, psychologists, and neuropsychologists use the latest approaches. We work as a team to design a treatment plan that meets the patient’s individual needs. We take into account the patient’s developmental age. When appropriate, we work with other doctors or specialists.  

We are involved in research about the neurobiology, genetics, and treatments for tics, OCD, and related conditions. We seek to discover the causes of OCD and Tourette syndrome and to develop more innovative and effective treatments. Our goal is to help you live a life free from interfering and distressing symptoms.

Conditions We Treat 

Our specialists treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Someone with OCD has uncontrollable thoughts and fears (obsessions). These obsessions often compel them to perform certain (compulsions) over and over. Patients often feel they have no control over these feelings. Intense anxiety and worry may cause patients to perform these repetitive behaviors.  Compulsions can be very time consuming and can make it hard to live a normal life. In the same way, avoiding situations that trigger OCD can also interfere with daily routines. OCD symptoms often begin during childhood but can start at any point. Getting proper treatment can be difficult. Patients may be misunderstand or misdiagnosed. Often, years go by before a patient or a loved one seeks help or gets an accurate diagnosis. People with OCD may also have other conditions. These can include tic symptoms or Tourette syndrome, autism symptoms, other anxiety or mood disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and social or learning difficulties. At Mount Sinai, we take into account all your symptoms as we develop a treatment plan.
  • Tics: Tics are sudden, rapid, non-rhythmic yet recurrent involuntary movements or sounds. Tics start in childhood. About 15 percent of school-age children may have some tics at one time or another. Tic disorders–when multiple tics are present and symptoms persist for more than a year–are less common. They can cause distress and impairment.
  • Tourette syndrome:  Tourette syndrome involves multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. The most complex of the tic disorders, this condition lasts at least a year.  Tics often start during childhood and may come and go. Motor tics often begin in the head and neck area, but any part of the body can be involved. Verbal tics come in many forms.  In addition, people with Tourette syndrome may also have OCD or OCD-like symptoms (for example, having to touch, tap or rub things or perform acts repeatedly until they feel “just right”). You or your loved one might also experience other anxiety or mood symptoms, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, autism spectrum disorders, and/or social or learning problems. At Mount Sinai, we do a comprehensive evaluation of psychiatric, psychological, and related areas of development before we make a treatment plan.
  • Trichotillomania: People with this condition have ongoing urges to pull or twist their own hair. This can lead to hair loss. It can affect hair anywhere on the body, but it’s usually head and facial hair.
  • Body-focused repetitive behaviors: Nail biting and skin picking also fall into the category of OCD-related disorders.

Many people who have tic disorders, OCD, or OCD-related disorders often have other conditions as well. These conditions can include ADHD, autism, mood disorder, and other anxiety disorders. As a result, our team works closely with other specialists within the Mount Sinai Health System.