Aphasia is a communication disorder that hinders a person's ability to find the words they want to use, or to understand what others mean when they speak. Aphasia can also cause difficulty with reading, writing, following conversations, and comprehending numbers. While aphasia can create difficulty speaking and understanding, it does not affect intelligence. Interestingly, a highly searched Google term is “Can anxiety cause aphasia?” While the answer is a firm no, here our speech pathologists will further delve into the question and provide some useful information on understanding and treating aphasia.
What are the three types of aphasia?
There are three common types of aphasia. These are:
1. Non-fluent or expressive aphasia
This form of aphasia involves the affected person knowing what they want to say or write. In expressive aphasia, people have difficulty communicating or expressing themselves. Non-fluent aphasia is also known as Broca's aphasia.
2. Fluent or receptive aphasia
People with receptive aphasia can hear and read but they often have difficulty interpreting the meaning of what is being communicated. Sometimes those with receptive aphasia interpret words literally. They might also have disturbed speech that occurs because they do not understand what they are saying.
There are different types of fluent aphasia. The most common is Wernicke's aphasia. This type of aphasia is typically recognized by long complete sentences that might include made-up words. These sentences have no meaning, which makes it very difficult for listeners to understand what the affected person is trying to say.
3. Anomic aphasia
People with anomic aphasia have difficulty finding the right words to express themselves when speaking or writing.
Other forms of aphasia
There are two additional types of aphasia to consider. The first is global aphasia, which is often seen immediately after a stroke. Symptoms include difficulty speaking and understanding as well as the inability to read and write.
The second is primary progressive aphasia. This type of aphasia is rarely seen. It involves a slow loss of the ability to speak, read, write, and understand language. Primary progressive aphasia is irreversible; however, people who suffer from it are able to communicate using gestures. Some individuals with primary progressive aphasia benefit from a combination of medication and speech therapy.
What is the most common cause of aphasia?
Strokes and brain injuries are the two most common causes of aphasia. In both cases, the area of the brain that deals with language is damaged.
Aphasia does have some other causes. These include dementia – often associated with Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors, brain infections, and neurological disorders including epilepsy.
People with aphasia often have dysarthria, which happens when muscles used for speech and language have been weakened or are difficult to control. Dysarthria is associated with slurred speech, which is very common in speech aphasia after stroke. Nervous system disorders, weak throat muscles, and weak tongue in muscles can lead to dysarthria as well.
Is anxiety connected to aphasia? The answer is no
There are several common and possible causes of aphasia, however anxiety is not among them. At the same time, anxiety often occurs after strokes, and it is commonly seen in people with aphasia. It’s not at all surprising that many people wonder about the connection between anxiety and aphasia.
In addition, it's very important to note that anxiety can make speech difficulties worse. We often think of anxiety as something that occurs only in the mind, but the truth is that anxiety affects the whole person, not just one aspect of their being. Tight muscles, racing thoughts, and general feelings of nervousness are all associated with anxiety, and they’re also associated with difficulty speaking.
How can a speech language pathologist help with aphasia or anxiety related speech issues?
When aphasia is caused by a brain injury or stroke, symptoms tend to be at their worst during the period directly following the event. The initial recovery period for aphasia typically lasts a few months, and many patients experience some improvement even without help from a speech language pathologist.
In many cases, aphasia symptoms persist beyond the initial recovery phase. Speech language therapy helps people with aphasia regain more of their ability to communicate, often by using the patient’s remaining language abilities.
The two basic types of speech language therapy for aphasia
Impairment-based therapy can help improve language function and improve the patient's ability to speak and comprehend. This type of therapy stimulates the patient's speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills.
Communication-based speech therapy is a method of assisting people with aphasia as they learn new ways to communicate. Conversational coaching and supported conversation are two types of communication-based therapies.
Speech language pathology covers these forms of therapy and more. The rehabilitation process aims at helping people with aphasia find effective ways to communicate. In addition, it can help family members and friends learn how to adapt to these changes.
Services including speech therapy, language therapy, and teaching the use of nonverbal communication skills. A patient’s new or enhanced methods for communicating might include the use of pictures or gestures, as well as the use of electronic devices and speech-generating applications. In most cases, speech language therapy for aphasia focuses on a combination of different methods.
Aphasia therapy is based on an individual’s needs. Sometimes patients are brought into group therapy settings, where they can practice their skills, become more comfortable, and gain confidence with their new communication method.
Online speech therapy can help aphasia patients achieve the same proficiency goals while offering a combination of convenience and flexibility. Whether online or in person, family members are encouraged to participate in therapy whenever possible.
Find speech therapy near me!
Speech language therapists help people with aphasia address a wide range of speech and language issues including those that can be complicated by anxiety.
When local help is difficult to find, Better Speech brings licensed, accredited, experienced speech therapists into your home. Online speech therapy is easy to access on demand, at a time that works for you. Better Speech therapists offer services on evenings and weekends for added convenience.
Ready to learn more about online speech therapy? Better Speech can give you or your loved one the necessary tools to ease speech difficulties associated with aphasia and or anxiety. Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out how we can help.
FAQ on aphasia
What is the difference between aphasia and dysphasia?
Aphasia and dysphasia share the same symptoms and causes. Of the two, aphasia is more severe, sometimes involving a total loss of the ability to speak and/or comprehend. Dysphasia involves moderate speech impairment. The two terms are often used interchangeably.
How can I help someone with aphasia?
If someone in your life has aphasia, there are many ways to make interactions easier for everyone. Try simplifying your language and using short sentences. You can also:
Minimize distractions when communicating i.e., turn off the TV.
Do your best to include the person with aphasia when conversations are happening. Ask for their opinion and give them time to speak when it’s their turn to respond.
Avoid correcting the person when they speak.
Look for local support groups and activities the person can participate in. Regaining confidence and self-esteem are two key components in recovery. Consider searching for local stroke clubs, which can offer support while helping families adjust to the changes that typically accompany a stroke and subsequent aphasia.
For reliable aphasia info visit https://www.aphasia.org/.