Dysnomia is a speech disorder that causes you to forget words or have difficulty coming up with specific words you wish to use when writing or speaking. Dysnomia is a neurological problem in which your brain can’t find the words you would normally use to put sentences together. Or, you may know the word but not be able to voice it. Language therapy and word recall exercises may help improve the symptoms of dysnomia.
Dysnomia can either be a short-term or long-term problem. Short-term dysnomia can be a symptom of low blood sugar or alcohol intoxication. You might also experience short-term dysnomia if you have an electrolyte imbalance, hyperthermia, or a concussion. Long-term dysnomia can be caused by a stroke or by an accident that causes brain damage. You might also have long-term dysnomia if you have a learning disability. If you have a child who is struggling with speaking, it is important to bring your child to a language therapist to find out if it’s a symptom of dysnomia.
Dysnomia may be confused with a condition called anomia. Dysnomia is actually a mild dysfunctional version of anomia. In order to diagnose dysnomia, physicians use neuropsychological tests that can measure the severity and distinguish between anomia as well as other similar neuropsychological conditions. After diagnosis, your physician can suggest different types of treatments depending on the cause of your dysnomia. Speech therapy and recall exercises is likely to be suggested if dysnomia is caused by brain trauma.
Language and Recall Exercises
If you have dysnomia, your words will still be in your brain somewhere and you may still remember the way the words feel on your tongue and lips. The problem is in actually being able to recall and speak the word. Language exercises may help. When in language therapy, your language therapist might ask you to perform a semantic exercise. In this type of exercise, the therapist would give you a sentence in which all but one word in the sentence is missing. The words in the sentence would all give you clues to the missing word you would need to come up with. Your brain is stimulated if you are asked for a synonym or antonym of certain words and you are able to come up with one. Word association games can be another way of exercising word recall. In word association, you might be asked what a pilot uses to fly, for example. You would have to come up with the word “plane.”
Medication, Fruits and Vegetables
Apart from speech recall exercises, depending on the cause of your dysnomia, your doctor might also prescribe drugs to aid your condition. Some drugs for dysnomia include Aricept, Reminyl and Excelon. According to a research done by Mary Boyle, a physician of the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in New York, it has been found that semantic exercises can help patients recall words, though, they can still have trouble actually speaking the words. Ms. Boyle’s research was published in a November 1995 edition of the "American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology." The study also suggests that fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C and vitamin B 12 may help relieve the symptoms of dysnomia.
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- American Speech-Language Hearing Association; Personalized Semantic Cueing Treatment for Naming Deficit in a Person with Conduction Aphasia; Dr. Janet Patterson & Dr. Jan Avent; 2006
- “American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology”; Application of Semantic Feature Analysis as a Treatment for Aphasic Dysnomia; Mary Boyle; November 1995
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