HealthDay News Increased use of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic is correlated with increased tic severity and reduced quality of life among teens with tic disorders, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 2 to 7 in Seattle.

Jessica Frey, MD, from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues explored the impact of social media behaviors in adolescents with tic disorders. The analysis included a survey of 20 individuals (ages 11 to 21 years).

The researchers found that nearly two-thirds of participants (65%) reported using social media at least 4 to 5 times per day (5.6 hours on average per day) and 90% reported increased use of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most respondents (85%) indicated that tic frequency worsened during the pandemic, and half reported that social media adversely impacted their tics, although there was no significant correlation between social media use and self-reported frequency of tics at the time of the survey or since the onset of the pandemic. There was a statistically significant correlation between tic severity, quality of life, and social media use during the pandemic. Only 1 individual reported using social media for information or interactions regarding tics.


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“Our results have begun to shed light on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and increased social media use may be having on teens and young adults with tic disorders,” Frey said in a statement. “More research is needed to better identify the exact stressors that are leading to more severe tics so we can work to reduce stressors for those who are experiencing them.”

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