Aphasia is a neurological condition that impairs your ability to speak or understand others. Strokes and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are the two leading causes of aphasia. TBI results from a blunt force trauma to the head, and it may result from an automobile collision or other type of accident such as a fall.
Aphasia can also be a sign of serious medical disorders such as dementia, infection, or Alzheimer’s Disease. If you notice that you or a loved one is having difficulty speaking, reading, or understanding words, make sure they get medical attention right away.
Symptoms of Aphasia
The person suffering from aphasia may lack physical symptoms. And although aphasia can be accompanied by memory problems, confusion, and loss of intellectual capacity, many people with aphasia don’t suffer any loss of intelligence.
Everyone who is struggling with aphasia will have one or more issues when it comes to processing language. These may include:
- Only able to speak a few words at a time
- Inability to comprehend spoken language
- Difficulty reading and writing
- Inability to speak fluently
- Difficulty pronouncing words
- Using made up words or names
- Fragmented speech
- Trouble using numbers
Aphasia is likely to damage a person’s relationships, job performance, and day to day functions.
Aphasia Caused by Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the second leading cause of aphasia. Blunt force trauma to the head can damage brain tissue used for processing speech and language. TBI may result from the following types of incidents:
- Falls such as a slip and fall on an slippery pavement or falling downstairs
- Motor vehicle crashes such as rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, and accidents involving big rig trucks
- Violent attacks with fists or heavy objects like pipes or baseball bats
- Gunshot wounds and explosions that may be suffered in combat
- Pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents where the victim has no seatbelts or secured cabin to protect themselves
Treatment for Aphasia
People who are suffering from aphasia may never completely recover their language abilities. And they often require a long period of rest and recuperation for related issues such as strokes or TBI. But there are therapies that may help you restore your language ability somewhat.
Treatment is carried out by a speech and language therapist (SLT), and counseling may also be recommended to help the patient adjust.
Speech and language therapy may provide the following benefits:
- Reducing impairment
- Increasing activity and participation
- Enhancing communication
- Using computer programs and apps
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