Here’s a frightening prospect. Sailing through life with fluent speech then suddenly finding yourself unable to string a sentence together.
That’s stressful in itself and it’s the first thing to investigate when you’re trying to treat it, because you may be directing your efforts to treating the wrong issue.
Known causes of a stutter and what the unknown is:
When I say stress, I’m not talking about one thing. I mean major stress, which is never an isolated issue. It’s a culmination of events that lead to psychological stress, putting the brain under immense pressure, for which at some point, it struggles to cope.
Major stress can be attributed to bereavement, financial, job security, keeping a roof over your head and emotional problems, which when a combination of life events pile up, they become troublesome to the extent that you experience mental health problems.
It’s for this reason that those struggling to cope with stress should seek medical advice and get their stress levels under control. Without doing that, stress can lead to a stutter developing. When it does, this type of stutter is known as a psychogenic stutter.
Treatment for a psychogenic stutter won’t be solely with a speech therapist. It will be combined with stress management to treat the root cause of the stutter, which isn’t neurological.
This covers both those prescribed by GPs and recreational drugs people self-medicate with, which is often as a result of not dealing with the first known cause – stress.
However, it can happen due to medical conditions. Health issues can result in you having to take medication regularly and as you’ll know, most have side effects.
If you find yourself dealing with a sudden onset of a stutter in adulthood, consider any new meds, because treating it could be as simple as your doctor changing your medication. Don’t stop your meds to investigate yourself though. That’s dangerous. Always get the advice from your GP because they know what medications do what and the alternatives available.
3. Brain trauma
Adults can find themselves dealing with a sudden onset stutter following any brain injury or trauma. This is neurogenic and can happen as a result of a stroke or any medical event causing a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.
In the event that the stutter is a result of a stroke, speech therapy will usually form part of your recovery and can be successful.
4. Developmental stutter recurrence
Anyone who had a childhood stutter and overcame it can find that the stutter returns in their adult life. This isn’t unusual and again speech therapy can work. Sometimes, as a child, you may have learned avoidance tactics and got along avoiding certain words giving you a very limited speech problem, which didn’t affect your life. However, if it’s still been there, it can return with a vengeance.
When the stutter hasn’t been completely eradicated, stress events can certainly contribute to its recurrence.
When medical professionals don’t know why, they’ll give you a diagnosis of having an idiopathic stutter. It doesn’t mean you’re an idiot. There’s even idiopathic arthritis. Whenever a cause is unknown, doctors just diagnose as idiopathic. With this, you’re only real option for treatment is self-study. It’s hard to treat anything when the cause is unknown.
Image courtesy of allouteffort.com.