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24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619 

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice
02038 115 619

Aphasia Explained

Comparatively few people have heard of aphasia – yet this inability to comprehend language can affect anybody, as a result of an injury to the brain or the negative effects of substance abuse and addiction.

What Is Aphasia?

Aphasia is an inability to understand, and/ to formulate, a language or languages in which the affected person is normally fluent (typically, their first language). Although their intelligence is unaffected, aphasia can cause a person to struggle with comprehension and articulation of language, with severity ranging from the occasional difficulty in finding the appropriate words (“it’s on the tip of my tongue”) to a complete loss of the ability to speak, read or write.

It may be a temporary condition or a permanent one (typically when caused by accident, disease, or long-term serious substance abuse). It can cause great distress to sufferers and their loved ones and as well as being a possible indication of serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can contribute to the development of depression, anxiety disorder and similar unpleasant disorders.

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What Causes Aphasia?

Aphasia has a large number of potential causes: any disease or injury affecting the areas of the brain concerned with language has the potential to cause aphasia. The most common cause is stroke, although brain tumours, traumatic head injury and a broad range of progressive neurological disorders (including dementia) are also factors in a high proportion of cases.

Aphasia can also be caused by substance abuse, either short-term (with drink or drugs temporarily affecting the parts of the brain related to language) or long-term (with actual damage to the brain caused by the repeated consumption of high quantities of a given substance or substances.

Aphasia as an Addiction Symptom

Although aphasia is a possible symptom of both temporary intoxication and long-term substance abuse, the sheer variety of other potential causes means that observers should remain cautious. Someone displaying symptoms whilst not intoxicated should certainly seek medical help, not only because it can be indicative of the presence of a serious and dangerous condition (such as stroke). In addition to that, if the aphasia is being caused by their substance abuse, it is likely to indicate sustained consumption of high levels of their substance/s of choice. This is representative of a possible addiction which they need help to overcome.

With that in mind, it is however the case that some physical symptoms may be common to addiction generally regardless of the substance in question. For example, frequent tiredness and fatigue (possibly affecting the quality of a person’s work); radically altered sleeping and eating patterns; negligence towards personal hygiene and appearance; frequent nausea and/or flulike symptoms; red, watery eyes; gum disease and other dental problems; itching; muscle spasms and tics; skin disorders; rapid weight loss (or, less frequently, weight gain); loss of motor control; bouts of dizziness; fainting/unconsciousness; grinding teeth and/or jaw clenching; bouts of incoherence; frequent sweating and/or shivering; regularly smelling of alcohol and/or other substances; and tremors may all indicate regular substance abuse and possibly addiction.

There are also global and anomic aphasia. Other types of aphasia identified include expressive aphasia, receptive aphasia, primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and deaf aphasia.

What Are the Symptoms of Aphasia?

Depending on the type and severity, an affected person may display symptoms from a broad spectrum anywhere from struggling to find the right word when communicating to an inability to speak, read and write, though their thought process itself may be affected.

How Is Aphasia Diagnosed?

Typically aphasia would be seen as being symptomatic of another condition. Various tests assessing a person’s command of language can be administered.

How Is Aphasia Treated?

Treatment of aphasia would typically address the underlying cause, be that illness, injury, or addiction (elements of holistic addiction treatment plan might focus upon aphasia). However, several models are deployed to treat aphasia specifically, including copy and recall therapy (CART), visual communication therapy (VIC); visual action therapy (VAT), functional communication treatment (FCT) and promoting aphasic’s communicative effectiveness (PACE).

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