Understanding Aphasia – A Disorder That Impairs Communication

Aphasia is a disorder that prevents a person from properly processing language. It is an acquired disorder and most often is caused by serious brain damage. It does impact their ability to communicate, but it does not affect the patient’s intelligence. The person may no longer be capable of properly speaking or understanding people. They most often have a problem with writing and reading as well.

It’s important to understand that a person with aphasia does not necessarily have a mental disorder. Many patients are incredibly intelligent and capable of living successful lives, but with a great degree of difficulty due to their communication problems.

Where Does Aphasia Come From?

Patients are not born with aphasia. It is most often identified in adults and the most common cause of aphasia is a stroke. Studies have shown that nearly 40 percent of all stroke patients develop some form of aphasia. Other health conditions that can lead to the development of this disorder include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, an infection in the brain, or a brain tumor.

Another leading cause is a brain injury. Suffering serious damage to one or more sections of the brain has a high probability of causing aphasia. It’s estimated that slightly less than 200,000 people develop the condition each year and that it is already more common than cerebral palsy with more than 2 million existing patients.

As mentioned earlier, it is most often diagnosed in adults, but it can just as easily affect children. It can occur in a person of any gender, age, or race without discrimination. It simply occurs more often in adults because more than 60 percent of stroke victims are older than 65.

Is It Possible To Cure?

Several different treatments have become popular over the years. The best possible treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and how long it has existed. If the symptoms last beyond three months, then it is highly unlikely the patient will ever experience a full recovery.

However, that doesn’t mean they cannot recover to some degree. Patients with aphasia can continue to see improvements in their communication skills decades after being diagnosed. It all depends on their treatments. A primary focus in many of the treatments is developing new strategies of communication, such as visual communication techniques.

Overall, aphasia is a very unfortunate and entirely too common disorder. But it’s one with potential treatments that can deliver results in time.