Medical

4 Tips For Dealing With Slurred Speech

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When someone has slurred speech it can be a scary experience. Many times when someone has slurred speech it is abrupt and people are confused as to why it is happening or where it is coming from.

Slurred Speech Causes

A patient whose speech is slurred and difficult to understand can be experiencing a myriad of things because there are several causes for slurred speech. The most known reason for slurred speech is a sign of a stroke. Having a numb or drooping face and feeling weak in one arm are the other two major signs for having a stroke.

When the oxygen supply has been cut off to your brain by a blood clot, you could have slurred speech or be hard to understand or be unable to talk at all.

Another cause of slurred speech is intoxication. Being intoxicated impacts the brain because it slows down how the brain communicates with your body. The liver does not have enough time to break down the alcohol you are consuming, consequently impacting your speech. Various neurological disorders can cause slurred speech like epilepsy, brain cancer, and seizures.

Medications also have the ability to impact your speech. There are other reasons that could explain why you are experiencing slurred speech. If you are concerned about symptoms related to slurred speech, seek help from your doctor immediately. 

Miguel Ferrer, who was best known for playing Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, reportedly died at the age 61 from cancer. Before his passing, there were questions about Miguel Ferrer’s slurred speech that was exhibited while working on a couple of episodes of NCIS.

There were several rumors regarding what caused his slurred speech. Many questioned if it was his cancer or if it was a stroke that caused the slurred speech. Signs of slurred speech are uneven volume in speech, difficult or unable to comprehend, slow speech or rapid speech, abnormal rhythm while speaking, limited movement of the tongue and facial muscles, etc. This experience also made people question what to do when someone does exhibit slurred speech.

How to Deal with Slurred Speech

Here are a couple of tips about what to do if you experience slurred speech.

  1. Determine what is causing your slurred speech and seek help. Slurred speech is normally caused by some underlying disorders, specifically neurological disorders. Neurological disorders can lead to impaired nerve conduction, weakness in muscles and lack of coordination between the brain and the muscles of speaking. This may or may not be repairable. Visit your doctor sooner rather than later so that you can undergo a specialized test to determine the underlying cause.
  2. Slurred speech can impact the daily functions and interactions of your life. It can cause insecurities and make it difficult to communicate with people. This can possibly lead to constant frustration, psychological trauma and or depression. It may be necessary to seek emotional or moral support from friends, family or professional help. 
  3. Depending on the causality of your slurred speech, you may have to seek the help of a speech-language pathologist to learn alternate ways of communicating, a speech therapist to improve or fix your speech, or you may need to have surgical intervention. You may have to change medication or dosage if it is a side effect of medication, which should be discussed with your doctor.  
  4. If your slurred speech is caused by drinking, you may need to lessen or monitor your alcohol intake. If you have reason to believe that your drinking has become a problem, you may need to seek help from a professional.

If you are experiencing slurred speech, it can be a temporary or a permanent disorder. You should seek help as soon as possible in case your slurred speech can be corrected at an early stage.

By Grand McDonald, PsyD

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