Dysphasia is a language disorder that affects the ability to produce and understand spoken language. It can cause reading, writing, speech and gesturing problems.
- Expressive dysphasia: this affects a person’s ability to speak and articulate language coherently. It is caused by damage to the area of the brain responsible for speech production called Broca’s area.
- Receptive dysphasia: affects language comprehension. The person can speak fluently, but they often speak with no meaning and are unaware of their speech errors. It is caused by damage to the area in the brain responsible for understanding written and spoken language.
- Combined/global dysphasia: the person has difficulty expressing themselves, speaking and understanding language. This type of dysphasia is caused by widespread damage to the language centres of the brain.
The most common symptoms of dysphasia include difficulties speaking, difficulties with expression and understanding spoken language. It is also common for people with dysphasia to display withdrawal from social situations because their dysphasia causes communication problems.
Verbal signs of dysphasia include:
- Speaking slowly and with great difficulty
- The use of bad grammar when forming a sentence and the omission of grammar
- Struggling to remember words and using a limited vocabulary
- Speaking fluently but in a nonsensical manner
Signs of dysphasia in relation to comprehension:
- Difficulty understanding spoken language
- Difficulty understanding complex grammar or fast speech
- Difficulty processing and remembering long sentences
- Misinterpretation of sentences
Dysphasia occurs when areas of the brain responsible for language production and comprehension are damaged. A number of conditions can cause brain damage. Strokes are the most common cause of dysphasia. During a stroke, a blockage in the blood vessels of the brain can starve brain cells of blood and oxygen, causing them to die. This leads to brain damage.
More conditions that cause dysphasia include:
Some cases of dysphasia, caused by epilepsy or migraines are only temporary and normal language abilities are restored after the epileptic seizures and headaches subside.
If dysphasia occurs suddenly, without any associated head injury, doctor can carry out a number of tests to discover the underlying cause. Tests can include a physical exam, examining reflexes and an MRI scan.
Measures can be taken to reduce the risk of dysphasia. As strokes are the leading cause of dysphasia, people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes can take measures to lower cholesterol, manage stress and control blood sugar levels to reduce their chances of a stroke and/or dysphasia.
Exercises used to improve speech and language include:
- Exercises to distinguish sounds
- Pronunciation exercises
- Auditory memory exercises that involve listening exercises, processing information and recall
- Vocabulary exercises to increase vocabulary
- Semantic exercises to improve understanding of context and meaning
- Morpho-syntactic exercises for example; knowing when to use the correct pronouns and prepositions when forming a sentence
Lachesis and Hyoscyamus – When Swallowing Liquids is Difficult
Lachesis and Hyoscyamus are effective medicines for dysphagia. They are effective when dysphagia for liquids is present. Lachesis is used when the patient has difficulty in swallowing liquids or even saliva. Pain and swelling in the throat are also present. There is choking when drinking liquids. Hyoscyamus is useful when there is a constricted sensation in the throat along with an inability to swallow liquids. Fluids may go the wrong way down the larynx. Other symptoms include a burning sensation and shooting pain in the throat.
Kali Carb and Alumina – When Swallowing Solids is Difficult
Kali Carb works when there is difficulty in swallowing solids along with gagging and vomiting. Kali Carb may also work well in cases of dysphagia from the stricture of the esophagus. In such patients, food may also go into the windpipe. Alumina works well when swallowing of solid food is difficult, painful and there is extreme dryness in the throat. The throat feels plugged. A patient needing Alumina can consume warm drinks with ease.
Baptisia and Baryta Carb – When There is Inability to Swallow Solids
Baptisia and Baryta Carb are some of the best medicines for dysphagia. They are helpful in cases where a person can only consume liquids, and there is gagging at the introduction of solid food. A patient needing Baptisia cannot swallow any solid food because of a constrictive feeling in the throat. Consuming only liquids is easy. Constriction at the cardiac end of the esophagus may also be present. Baryta Carb helps in cases when the patient consumes only liquids. Not even a slight amount of solid seems to move down the esophagus. Stinging and burning in the throat may also be present. Empty swallowing leads to a smarting pain in the throat.
Belladonna and Cactus – When the Patient Has To Drink to Swallow
Belladonna and Cactus are both significant treatment for dysphagia where the patient has to drink water to help swallow food. Belladonna works well when a person having dysphagia has to drink water to help swallow food. There is also a tendency to choke easily while swallowing. The food may go down the wrong way.
Belladonna is a medicine for painless dysphagia. Cactus is highly indicated when a person has to drink a lot of water to make the food move down the esophagus. Heat and constriction in the throat may also be the symptoms indicating the use of the Homeopathic medicine Cactus. A feeling of suffocation may also arise from constriction in the throat.
Anacardium and Hyoscyamus – For Dysphagia with Choking
Medicines that are most suitable for dysphagia with choking while swallowing are Anacardium and Hyoscyamus. The characteristic feature to use Anacardium is easy choking while eating or drinking anything. Scraping and rawness in the throat are also important symptoms for selecting this remedy. Hyoscyamus is effective when there is choking while drinking liquids as the liquid goes down the larynx instead of the esophagus. The fluid may also regurgitate and come out through the nose in some cases.,e.t.c