Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Language is an area which multiple sclerosis can subtly affect. Unseen and often initially unnoticed, this particular aspect can be quite insidious and distressing in how it affects everyday interactions with other people, often making effective communication difficult.
Language difficulties arising from multiple sclerosis can be subtle or they can be overt.
'Finding the right words' is a phrase used often, but for people with multiple sclerosis, this cliché is more than a saying, it can be a fact of everyday life.
Language problems can be mild and intermittent, with the sufferer experiencing some minor difficulty with word recall; where the correct word is 'in there somewhere' or 'on the tip of the tongue', but still proves elusive nonetheless.
Substitution of an alternative word is a typical action taken by the person experiencing difficulties, but this measure, while enough to overcome the momentary problem, is simply 'papering over the crack'.
More severe forms of language dysfunction can occur where verbal expression is badly hampered. Typically, the words are there, somewhere; it is remembering them that is the problem and this can break the fluency of conversation, leading to a reluctance to participate and a sense of isolation.
Other ways language problems can manifest themselves is when something entirely different comes out. Somewhere between thinking it, and the words actually coming out, the words have been substituted.
Sometimes the substituted words will approximate to what was meant to be said and sometimes they will convey an entirely different meaning than that intended.
They may not even be relevant and can be entirely inappropriate to the conversation.
It is important to realize then, that the areas of the brain which deal with spoken language can be affected.
Although usually a temporary event, language problems or difficulties may last several weeks or months, be distressing, interrupt normal socializing and leading to self-imposed 'isolation' in some instances.
Summary of language problems and difficulties:
- Problems with language fluency
- Problems with word-finding
- Unintentionally saying the wrong word
- Difficulty recalling familiar or unfamiliar words
- Difficulty remembering the names of friends or even family members
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