Stuttering: A speech syndrome or is it a byproduct of Social Anxiety?

stuttering and social anxiety

It’s 4 in the morning I woke up really early and there’s one thing that popped in my mind. Stuttering, I wonder why I stutter so much whenever I’m speaking or even reading a short story to my toddler. I got up and googled to find out if it has anything to do with my social anxiety. But why would I fear of speaking if I’m only with a kid who doesn’t even know how to form a single sentence yet. I was shock on what I’ve found out. According to Psych Central on an article entitled “Stuttering: Myth vs. Fact” by Beth Gilbert, that apparently stuttering is considered by medical community as a psychiatric disorder categorize at the same level with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I’ve always wanted to apply as a customer service representative as a part time job while I’m studying in College, but I always flunking the final interview and the phone simulation stage. I figured I wasn’t confident enough which was why my voice kept stuttering. I thought I can cure it by enrolling in speech classes. Though it helped me a little bit the stutter just won’t go away. So I gave up and now after 7 years, I thought my speech is better but I still can’t help the stuttering. Could it be caused by my social anxiety? Or am I just too dumb to speak fluently?

Stuttering isnt caused by social anxiety or stress

But it seems the other way around, social anxiety is a concomitant of stammering. In the Psych Central article Catherine Montgomery, executive director and founder of The American Institute for Stuttering in New York City, N.Y. says it’s not caused by emotional or psychological problems nor a nervous disorder or a condition caused by stress. Statistics even show that the average IQ of stutterers is about 14 points higher to that of the national average and the likelihood of to total recovery significantly diminishes as the child grows older. Studies suggest that stuttering has also a genetic basis, a family history of stuttering and strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child. These factors are essential for the diagnosis and in developing a specific treatment program.

But the best treatment as researchers found out is early intervention. “The earlier the therapy occurs, the better the results in resolving stuttering” says Maguire, a clinical researcher at UC Irvine. The most common treatment is behavioral, that is designed to educate and develop a person’s specific skills or behavior that can improve their oral communication. Pharmacological anti-anxiety therapies are also available for those who have difficulty controlling anxiety using cognitive-behavioural techniques. For those who have a family member, a friend or colleagues who have stutter problems, try to understand their situation and let them finish their sentences. Avoid giving suggestions like “slow down, relax or take a deep breath”. You may think that these are helpful but it can worsen the uncomfort they feel.


About Lea 26 Articles
Lea shares tips for overcoming social anxiety drawing on her own experiences of dealing with it since childhood. Thankfully, she was able to learn how to now let it get in the way of living a happy, fulfilling life and that changing the way you think can change the way you feel.

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