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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Do I have expressive language dysfunctions Most of the

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Do I have expressive language dysfunctions?

Most of the time, I feel frustrated without knowing why. I think I have expressive language dysfunctions because it takes me too long to come up with the right word when speaking, I have poor vocabulary, I can't summerize or eraborate events that's happened to me.( For instance, when a friend asked me what I did today, I just can't recall the day's events and just say 'I didn't do anything.') But I use inaccurate/inappropriate words anyways to keep convesations going, but since I don't describe things correctly I often feel stuck during a conversation, and it affects my own understanding of myself because I don't express myself accurately. My friends tell me to write my thoughts down on paper in problem-solving, but whenever I try to do it my mind goes blank and I'm at a loss for words. So I'm not good at problem-solving. When I feel frustrated, stressed or depressed, I just can't define the problem. So when I know that there's something wrong, I don't know what to do about it because I don't know what is the real problem.
Also, when I try to research something on the net to learn something new, I forget what I was trying to search and stopped doing it halfway through without gaining anything from it. I feel stuck again.
Since I can't express myself accurately, I have difficulty communicating with others. Even when I do my best, XXXXX XXXXX confuse the other person who's listening. So I tend to withdraw altogether to avoid people in general.
I feel that other people instinctively know how things work, but I feel I'm standing in the middle of nowhere. Most of the time, I feel anxious, frustrated because I can't rely on my own understanding of things, or my memory.
I was diagnosed with schipaohrenia about 5 years ago, but even when schizophrenia sysptoms are almost gone, I still feel that there's something wrong with me. Maybe I have misunderstood language dysfunctions so that I developped the illness to cover up the real problem because it was easier for me to deal with schizophrenia than language dysfunctions?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It certainly sounds like you may have some type of expressive language problem. The only way you can tell for sure, however, is to see a speech therapist for an evaluation. A speech therapist is qualified to do a complete evaluation of your situation and let you know if you have any type of speech or language disorder. If so, they can let you know what type of treatment that would help. Ask your family doctor for a referral to a speech therapist. Or you can find one on line or


If you have a speech disorder, you may have noticed it since childhood. Speech problems almost always develop in childhood, unless the person has been through a severe trauma or an accident, particularly brain trauma. In that case, an adult can develop a speech problem.


Another cause might be being introverted. A small part of the population is introverted. Introverts are people who tend to focus inwardly instead of socially. They enjoy being alone and feel drained by social contact. They can be shy, but this is not the main trait of being introverted. Introverts will have difficulty talking to others socially and may find that their ability to express themselves, particularly in a large group, as strained and awkward. They may forget words or stumble over getting their thoughts out. There is nothing wrong with being introverted. It's just a matter of learning what your personality is.


If you are not already in therapy, you may want to consider talking to someone about how you feel, especially if this problem bothers you to the extent that it interferes with your ability to function socially. Again, you can talk with your doctor about a referral or if you attend church, talk with your pastor. Or you can search on line at


I hope this has helped you,





Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Yes I used to have problems with communicating with others in my chidhood as well. I remember my sister would often say to me, 'that's not the word you use in this situation.' and that my mother would often say, 'I don't understand what you are trying to say.'

I was also introverted, often played alone, and I spoke really hesitantly. I never had moments when I could speak with confidence. One reason was because I was terrified with my hysterical mother, but another reason is because I might have had language problems, looking back.

Also one day as a kid I created my own word with which I could communicate with no one else, and I had a hard time remembering or using new words in correct ways. So naturally I stopped communicating complexed ideas with others but I just turned inward, and I wrote about inner events when I had to do school essays, etc. because it was the easiest thing for me to write about. You don't really need to refer to anything like encyclopedias or dictionaries when you write about what's happened to your inside world.

I'm currently in therapy for other reasons, but my doctor whom I see to treat my schizophrenia said that I didn't have any learning disabilities which I think include language problems as well, just because I could speak English which is not my first language. But I think it is possible to have language dysfuncions/diorder even if you have mastered a foreigh language. Is it?

I don't trust my doctor anyway, so I'll talk about this to my therapist.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information.


It's difficult to tell which caused the other, your language problems caused you to have difficulty with communicating or your experience with your mother caused you to have trouble with communication. Or even if both affected you equally.


I believe it is possible to have a language disorder no matter how many languages you speak. Some people are very good at expressing themselves no matter what and some are not. It most likely is due to the area of the brain that expression comes from. Add the psychological effects of your childhood and it might explain the problem you are experiencing.


Although I respect what your doctor told you, having yourself evaluated by a qualified speech therapist is the only way you can be sure that you do not have an expressive language problem. Speech therapists are trained specifically to detect these issues and can do a thorough examination of your problem to tell exactly what is happening.


The fact that you can express yourself on paper is a good sign that your problem is probably limited to therapy with a speech therapist. Expressive language problems can be addressed quite well in therapy. I have personal experience with working with a speech therapist and it's amazing what can be done to help.


Do talk to your therapist about this. Your therapist can help you with the emotional side of the issue. Between the speech therapist and your mental health therapist, you should be doing fine in no time.



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