What is the symptom of alogia?

            Humans are indeed marvel creatures. While it is true that most living creatures have brains, the brain capacity of the human alone is far more superior and complex. This has made humans a social creature and able to do many things in life. Unfortunately, some people may have problems with their brain health that causes symptoms such as alogia. In this DoctorOnCall’s article, we will learn more on symptoms of alogia.

            Alogia, also referred to as poverty speech, is the speech disturbance common to several mental and neurological conditions including dementia, schizophrenia and certain mood disorders. Alogia usually reflects problems with the brain’s long-term memory recall, semantic structure of language or executive functions. Alogia can range from mild to severe speech limitations.

            Alogia and disorganised speech are often confused as it is both involved with speech issues. Alogia often refers to the decreased amount of words of what a person says. This is in contrast with disorganised speech as it refers to jumbled and nonsensical speech. Disorganised speech revolves around disorganised thoughts such as from delusions or psychosis as opposed to alogia as people with alogia struggles more with memory recall of words.

            To make things easy, people with alogia are often unable to think or pronounce certain words. They may also take long pauses or prefer to speak less. Replies to questions may be brief, concrete and lacking in detail. For people with disorganised speech, they tend to repeat words, make up words, use wrong words or put words in sentences that do not make sense or don’t belong together in speech.

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            Symptoms of alogia vary from one person to another. Alogia in most cases are considered as negative symptoms of schizophrenia (this refers to absence of normal functions). In some cases, alogia is presented with other negative symptoms such as apathy. Symptoms of alogia often involve the marked decrease in frequency, amount or quality of speech and the inability to remember or recall certain words. Patients often use fewer words or use restricted vocabulary in their conversation. It is common to see patients give no reply or only give brief responses such as one-word responses to questions. People with alogia also lack spontaneous speech which makes them only speak whenever being asked a question. This itself makes patients have difficulty in elaborating on a topic and possibly unable to maintain a normal pace or flow of conversation. Last but not least, alogia can make a person unable to pronounce certain sounds or syllables clearly and lack words or a variety of tones when speaking.

            Due to the fact that alogia may be confused with those who actually do not have alogia or speech issues, it is best for those having symptoms associated with alogia to get checked by doctors. This is very much true if there are symptoms associated with mental illness such as schizophrenia. It is worth noting that not all diagnosed with schizophrenia will develop alogia and not all with alogia do have mental illness.

            Alogia itself is a symptom often associated with a number of underlying disorders. Researchers still do not fully understand why some people have alogia. It is said that alogia could be blamed for the way the brain receives information from long-term memories. If alogia is caused by traumatic brain injury, it is usually caused by damage to the specific area of the brain that controls speech, language, memory and executive functioning. This exact area of the brain is also believed to be involved in alogia that causes thought disorders in mental illness.

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            Treatment for alogia depends on the underlying cause. In cases of sudden and unexplained alogia, patients are recommended to undergo medical exams, imaging tests such as MRI/CT scans or psychiatric assessment to better understand the condition. Treatment available is a combination of medication and psychosocial therapy. Certain antidepressants, antipsychotic and stimulants can be effective to treat alogia.  Psychological treatment can help patients to better integrate themselves in social life. Speech therapy involves working with speech therapists to regain or improve ability to speak clearly. This is especially true in those who have experienced an accident or brain injury. Psychotherapy is typically considered as the first-line approach when treating alogia caused by mental health disorder.

            It can be concluded that alogia is a symptom related to a number of underlying mental health conditions. Alogia is often referred to as poverty speech or poverty of content. Living with alogia can be difficult as it can be challenging for patients to think words or form more than just a short sentence. Alogia should not be the mirror to the personality or communication style as it is often linked with negative symptoms. Treating alogia can indirectly improve mental health conditions associated with the symptom. If you or anyone you know has trouble with speech, you should get checked by a doctor or those working in psychology and speech therapy.

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