The human being is a gregarious and social being, in permanent contact with the other members of his species. In fact, as a species we have always depended a lot on the ability to communicate. And one of our main means of communication is at the same time one of the most complex we have: oral language. Speech is something that is learned (although there are innate components) and develops throughout life, acquiring over time a rhythm and fluidity that allows you to convey messages of great complexity in a relatively short time.
But sometimes this ability can be impaired in the face of brain injury or trauma. This is what happens with bradylalia, Which we will talk about throughout this article.
What is Bradyalia?
When we speak of bradylalia we are referring to the presence of psychological impairment as a slowdown in language production of varying degree, usually a product of the presence of some type of injury or brain damage. It is therefore a disorder of rhythm and verbal fluency.
Although the concept itself refers only to the speed at which speech occurs, the truth is that generally the affectation is not only at the level of rhythm, but the slowing down is accompanied by other alterations such as now the presence of a decreased fluency in speech, decreased ability to modulate tone of voice (Which usually becomes flattened and monotonous) and great difficulty in articulating words.
It is also common for several blockages to appear during speech, stuttering, and some prolongation or repetition of word sounds. In some cases, a varying degree of silence may appear.
It is important to note that bradylalia designates a slowing down of the production or emission of language, that is to say the act of speaking. However verbal comprehension can be perfectly preserved, Understand everything that is said to the person.
This type of involvement does not appear spontaneously, being in fact an indicator of the existence of neuronal damage. It would therefore be a symptom of this injury rather than a disorder in itself.
Consequences and symptoms
Speech is a fundamental ability in the daily life of most people, hence the appearance of bradylalia it can have serious functional repercussions for those who suffer from it beyond the simple difficulty of speaking.
It’s not uncommon for conversation issues to arise personal and social problems, Decrease their social life and hinder effective communications and underestimate their mental capacities. At the work level, this can also have serious repercussions, making it difficult or even preventing the performance of one’s functions depending on the sector.
In addition, it is common for their difficulties to also cause emotional disturbances, especially if they are aware of the presence of such difficulties. In addition to their own worry and a possible misunderstanding of what happened to them, it is not uncommon for irritability, decreased self-esteem to appearHigh levels of anxiety or even the problems experienced can lead to depression.
Avoidance of social contact, demotivation and loss of the desire to do things can also appear, as well as a certain hopelessness. All of this is especially common in cases that show no improvement.
Causes of this problem
As mentioned above, the origin of bradylalia is usually in the presence of some kind of brain injury, Specifically in areas of the brain related to language production.
Some of the most common causes of its onset are the presence of stroke, head trauma, or neurodegenerative diseases (appearing throughout the development of multiple dementias, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease) . Other circumstances that cause cognitive impairment can also lead to bradylales, such as that found in psychotic patients with negative symptoms.
It is not uncommon for it to appear in situations such as drug addiction poisoning or resulting disorders. Some poisonings and intoxications can also be the cause, as well as confusional states. The presence of brain infections, such as encephalitisAnother possible source of this language impairment is.
Bradylalia can also be found, to a lesser extent, in people with psychiatric problems, for example major depression or the above-mentioned subjects with psychotic problems and negative symptoms. Finally, it can also be observed in subjects with neurodevelopmental disorders.
The treatment of bradylalia largely depends on its causes, usually requiring an extended period of time to progress and it is not always possible to achieve recovery of usual speech speed. This is because we are dealing with a problem that arose from the injury or deterioration of part of the nervous system, an alteration which may be temporary or permanent.
If we are talking about a bradylalia caused by the effects of a point poisoning or depression, it will be possible to overcome it before applying the corresponding treatment. In the case of permanent brain damage, such as brain damage, stroke or neurodegenerative disease, a multidisciplinary approach will generally be applied in which several professionals will be involved.
Language issues can be resolved or alleviated (as sometimes full recovery is not possible) with a combination of language therapy, speech therapy, professional work and cognitive stimulation. You can also work on physiotherapy and strengthen the oral and respiratory muscles. In the case of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, in addition to this type of treatment, their academic difficulties must be taken into account by generating curricular adaptations or individualized plans as the case may be.
Psychoeducation is always important so that the subject understands what is happening to him and what effects it can have on his everyday life. Likewise, in cases where the recovery of the normal rhythm of speech cannot be obtained they can generate compensatory or substitution strategies, Such as the use of other media or communication channels. It must also be applied to the environment, so that it understands the difficulties of the subject. It may also be necessary to provide psychological therapy, counseling and counseling in the presence of acceptance difficulties, bereavement or emotional problems.
- Martínez-Sánchez, F. (2010). Speech and voice disorders in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neurology, 51 (9): 542-550.