Updated: Dec 13, 2022
What is stuttering?
Have you ever heard the quote, “I may be deprived of eloquence, but my mind can never be dumb”? Similarly, stuttering doesn’t inherently make you idiotic, nor will it ever.
So what exactly is it?
Stuttering, as defined by the dictionary, is "To speak in a way in which the flow of speech is interrupted by repetitions, blocks, or prolonged sounds." While this is a good beginning to answer this complex question, it doesn't nearly cover it all.
Stuttering is seen primarily in prepubescent children, 75% of which grow out of their stutter, be it through time or with the intervention of speech therapy.
Now, why do you develop a stutter? There are many reasons for stuttering, such as:
Intellectual disabilities: This also comes under the 25% of children that cannot outgrow their stutter, and are left with it throughout their lives. It can cause mild stuttering in adults when compared to before.
A problem with your motor control: This can be due to several reasons, including genetics or accidents. Aside from that, it can also purely be the way your brain is. In this scenario, processes like speech therapy are your best friend.
Mental health issues: Certain issues, such as anxiety, can cause a stutter to develop over a period of time. This is something that can be cured, again, through speech therapy and psychotherapy.
As we can see above, there are in fact, many reasons for stuttering, some of which are there since childhood. This leads up to our next question, that is;
What causes stuttering in adults?
So what exactly causes stuttering in adults? There are causes behind the sudden onset of stuttering in adults; such as:
Brain injuries: An injury caused to the brain could affect the way your speech motor control functions, which can lead to a stutter. Such stutters are called neurogenic stutters.
Certain genetic factors: Many chromosome abnormalities can lead to a stutter. According to multiple studies, the genes in chromosome 18 are what lead to stuttering.
Language: When an adult learns a new language, it can lead to an adult-onset stutter, which can go away with time.
Psychological issues: When an adult suffers severe trauma, it can lead to the answer to the above question, that is, what causes stuttering in adults? This form of stuttering is extremely rare since it requires immense and prolonged trauma.
Stress: This is another major factor in the causes of stuttering in adults. It can lead to a developed stutter in adulthood. This is a lesser-known cause of sudden onset stuttering in adults and can be caused due to grief or financial burden.
Relapses: A relapse into old speech dysfunctions can answer another burning question, that is, what can cause stuttering all of a sudden in adults? When there is a certain amount of emotional stress or pressure, there can be relapses into a stutter, which can cause them to seem like it's sudden, when in reality, it's something from childhood.
Neurodegenerative disorders: When something happens that causes your brain to start falling apart or breaking up, it can lead to a speech impediment.
It might have been that you developed a stutter in adulthood, and the development of a stutter in adulthood can be extremely nerve-wracking, especially if you have no memories of a speech impediment. Don't worry, with time and effort and a trained speech therapist, one will be able to overcome it. You can also have mild stuttering in adults, which may be caused by the same reason.
Many burning questions have been answered today, such as what causes stuttering in adults, why you develop a stutter and many more. We can conclude that a multitude of reasons can lead to a stutter, some of which might be highly unexpected. Remember that most of the time, it is something that can be overcome with the help of speech therapy and patience.