Stress-related stammering

A stressful event, or a series of events that affects you psychologically, can sometimes result in stammering, also referred to as psychogenic stammering. Common sources of stress include a major bereavement or loss of a relationship, but almost any unexpected emotional challenge can be a trigger for a speech problem. A stress-reaction can also follow after an accident, for example, a car crash, and in this sort of situation, careful investigation is required to establish whether the stammer is stress-related or, in fact, has a neurogenic cause, as a result of a head injury which may have gone undiagnosed.This kind of stammering is likely to improve when the event or situation no longer causes you stress or anxiety. Some sources of stress, such as a bereavement, may be unavoidably long-term and, in these situations, counselling can help. Cruse is a national charity offering counselling to the bereaved – see contact details below.Very occasionally, stress-related stammering does not disappear once the cause of stress has been removed or overcome. In these circumstances, you should seek a referral to a speech and language therapist who will be able to offer you suggestions and advice for improving your fluency

 

Neurogenic stammering

The most common cause of stammering starting in adult life is neurological (brain) trauma. Within this category, the most common cause is stroke, which is a clot or bleeding, resulting in damage to a specific part of the brain.Stammering is one of several different speech problems which can occur as a result of a stroke or other brain injury. Speech problems associated with a very minor stroke may only last a few hours, but they should not be ignored.

You should seek medical advice immediately

In the case of a more severe stroke, the speech problems may persist for a longer period. In these circumstances, the treatment you receive should include referral to a speech and language therapist, who will be able to work with you to help you to regain fluent speech. Contact the Stroke Association for their factsheets about communication problems after stroke and about speech and language therapy for stroke patients (see contact details below).Other causes of neurogenic stammering include brain tumour, head injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Again, a speech and language therapist will be able to advise you and help you cope better with any speech problems arising from these sorts of conditions.

Drug-related stammering- 

Stammering can sometimes occur as part of an adverse reaction or side-effect whilst taking medication or other drugs. If you are taking a prescribed medicine and find you are affected by any sort of speech problem, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine, or may be able to help you adjust the dosage so that side-effects are minimised. Drug-related stammering will almost certainly disappear completely if you stop using the drugurogenic stammering

The most common cause of stammering starting in adult life is neurological (brain) trauma. Within this category, the most common cause is stroke, which is a clot or bleeding, resulting in damage to a specific part of the brain.Stammering is one of several different speech problems which can occur as a result of a stroke or other brain injury. Speech problems associated with a very minor stroke may only last a few hours, but they should not be ignored.

You should seek medical advice  immediately

In the case of a more severe stroke, the speech problems may persist for a longer period. In these circumstances, the treatment you receive should include referral to a speech and language therapist, who will be able to work with you to help you to regain fluent speech. Contact the Stroke Association for their factsheets about communication problems after stroke and about speech and language therapy for stroke patients (see contact details below).Other causes of neurogenic stammering include brain tumour, head injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Again, a speech and language therapist will be able to advise you and help you cope better with any speech problems arising from these sorts of conditions

        Emotional and Psychological Factors

We are often asked whether a child’s stammer could have been caused by a crisis or an upset in the family. Even though there is no research evidence that unfortunate events in a family cause stammering, parents often worry that one experience may have triggered the problem. For example, parents may worry that it was the arrival of a new baby, starting a new school or nursery, an illness or an accident etc. While these incidents are obviously important, they are also events that occur in the lives of many families, with no consequences for a child’s fluency. It seems more likely that these important experiences may have happened at around the same time as the stammering started to emerge. However while they could be a source of additional stress for a family.

Personality

It is often assumed that people who stammer are shy or nervous. In actual fact this is not true. Children and adults who stammer have exactly the same range of personality types as everyone else. However, stammering can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence in some situations – and shyness or reticence may be the result of the stammering.

Many parents also describe their child as being overly sensitive, or a worrier or that he sets himself high standards. Although these traits do not cause the stammer, a child who is more sensitive to their stammering and more anxious about making mistakes may become upset when they can’t say what they want to say. Conversely, a child who is more laid-back and relaxed about life may not be so affected by moments of hesitancy or “bumpy talking”.

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