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What Is Anomic Aphasia, A Speech Problem Causing Trouble In Naming Objects? Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Anomic aphasia is one of the types of aphasia, an impairment in language that is caused due to damage to the area of the brain responsible for language and speech.

According to a PubMed study, people with anomic aphasia have problems in word-retrieval or naming objects while writing or speaking. Though they have a clear understanding of what they are trying to name or have been told to write, they are unable to articulate it. [1]

Such people often feel that the words are on the tip of their tongue but are unable to speak them out.

Let's discuss anomic aphasia in detail.

Causes Of Anomic Aphasia

The primary cause of anomic aphasia is stroke. Studies say that anomic aphasia is mainly caused due to damage to the brain in the left hemisphere caused due to small and frequent strokes, which have later become severe.

The left hemisphere of the brain is specialised in language and logic while the right hemisphere is specialised in intuition and creativity. [2] Therefore, when the prior area gets affected, the ability to speech and language is troubled, leading to anomic aphasia.

Stroke is mainly caused due to bursting or leaking of blood vessels or blocked arteries in the brain. This hampers the supply of blood and oxygen to the organ, which in turn, leads to damage to the brain area near the site of the stroke. [3]

Other causes of the condition may include neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, brain injury or tumour in the brain.

Symptoms Of Anomic Aphasia

Some of the symptoms of anomic aphasia may include: [4]

  • Simply unable to name objects.
  • Often recognise objects but are unable to retrieve their names.
  • Using the alternative words or a sound substitution to name objects.
  • Speaking with fewer grammatically well-formed sentences.
  • Speaking too slowly.
  • Troubles with verbs and nouns.
  • Using strategies to cope with the word-retrieval impairment such as repeating words. [5]

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Risk Factors Of Anomic Aphasia

Stroke is considered to be the biggest risk factor for anomic aphasia. Therefore, some of the factors which may increase the risk of the condition include: [6]

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • High waist circumference
  • Physical inactivity
  • Improper diet
  • Preexisting heart diseases
  • Chronic stress
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Age (after 55)
  • Race-ethnicity (African-Americans are at higher risk).
  • Genetics or history of stroke in the family.

Complications Of Anomic Aphasia

People with anomic aphasia often find themselves stuck in recalling the words. This affects their speaking fluency and may affect their confidence while communicating with people.

Also, reading and writing may be normal, there could be abnormalities in the styles.

Diagnosis Of Anomic Aphasia

To diagnose anomic aphasia, a medical expert may give a set of verbal series or brain imaging tests. This is because symptoms of some conditions like autism or anarthria or other aphasia may coincide with the symptoms of anomic aphasia. Therefore, to rule out these conditions, a medical expert performs these tests. [7]

They may also ask for a hearing test to rule out any kind of hearing problems. MRI is suggested to look out for any signs of brain damage or tumours.

Treatments Of Anomic Aphasia

Treatment of anomic aphasia is based on its cause. For example, if the cause is stroke, it is managed with medications or surgeries.

Aphasia speech therapy helps patients with anomic aphasia in improving their speech, language and word-retrieving abilities with the help of language assessments, speech therapy and visual tests [8] These tests help patients to easily retrieve the missing word.

Recovery from anomic aphasia totally depends on the cause. In conditions when the brain damage is irreversible, treatment of anomic aphasia is impossible.

To Conclude

People often forget to recall certain words in their day to day lives. However, if you notice the condition is affecting your quality of life, consult a medical expert for immediate diagnosis and treatment.

What are the symptoms of anomic aphasia?

Anomic aphasia is mainly characterised as the inability to retrieve the name of objects while writing or speaking, knowing in many cases what they are trying to name. A person with anomic aphasia often feels that the word is on the tip of the tongue but is unable to speak them out.

Does anomic aphasia go away?

Anomic aphasia is mainly caused due to damage to the left hemisphere of the brain. If the damage is temporary, with effective treatment and speech therapy, the condition may improve, however, if the damage is permanent, the chances of improvement are very less.

What is the most common cause of aphasia?

The most common cause of aphasia is stroke. Other factors like neurodegenerative diseases, brain damage and tumour in the brain could be responsible for causing the condition.

What are the 4 types of aphasia?

The four types of aphasia include Global aphasia, Broca's aphasia, Wernicke's aphasia and anomic aphasia. The most common types of aphasia are anomic, Broca's and Wernicke's aphasia. ​

Story first published: Friday, February 18, 2022, 13:00 [IST]
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