Despite the fact that aphasia affects almost 180,000 Americans annually, it took a celebrity to bring it to the public’s attention. Bruce Willis’s loved ones disclosed last week that he suffered from a language condition that can have negative effects on a person’s capacity to communicate verbally, auditorily, visually, and in writing.
What Is Aphasia, And What Causes It?
Dutta argues that aphasia is not a cognitive problem, but rather a language disorder brought on by injury to language-related regions of the brain. In most cases, this refers to the hemisphere of the brain that controls language.
The most prevalent reason for aphasia is a stroke, but brain trauma and tumors are also potential triggers. Deterioration of brain tissue with advancing age can also cause a form of aphasia.
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The actor’s aphasia has not been publicly explained by the Willis family.
What Are The Different Types Of Aphasia?
Receptive aphasia is one kind of language disorder. The condition manifests in those who have suffered an injury to the temporal lobe of the brain. Individuals with receptive aphasia retain the ability to communicate orally, but their words may lack meaning. Also, they could have problems grasping even the most fundamental concepts.
Similarly, frontal lobe injury can lead to expressive aphasia. Many people with expressive aphasia have some linguistic ability but are unable to communicate effectively. To express themselves, they may only use hand gestures or a single phrase. She explains, “Their grammar is severely impaired since they tend to overuse nouns and underuse verbs.
These forms of aphasia are distinct from PPA, which develops slowly as a result of brain deterioration. Though, PPA is not dementia. She notes that “with dementia, memory is often compromised first,” which can have repercussions for both verbal and nonverbal expression. Yet, with PPA, language difficulties such as stumbling over words in a conversation often present as the earliest signs of the disease. As PPA worsens, patients experience difficulties with cognitive abilities like memory and attention.
How Is The Family Affected By a Person’s Aphasia?
“Aphasia is generally called a family disease because it is a life-changing diagnosis that not only affects the individual with aphasia but also places a significant strain on their family and careers,” Dutta explains.
Family members are encouraged to participate in their loved one’s evaluation and treatment planning at RUSH. The family’s adjustment to the new circumstances is of interest to them. Thus, we include them in the aims-setting procedure. They may wish for their aphasic family member to gain some measure of autonomy in order to relieve some of the stress placed on them.
Communication partner training is another service provided by speech therapists to assist patients’ loved ones in having meaningful discussions and expressing themselves.
Do People With Aphasia Need To Stop Working?
Many persons with aphasia, like Bruce Willis, struggle in the workplace. However, speech therapy can help many individuals regain their language skills so that they can go back to work. They might decide to work less hours or pursue a different line of work where they are required to interact with others less frequently.
The speech therapists at RUSH are dedicated to assisting their aphasia patients in regaining employment.
If someone has been diagnosed with aphasia, “there’s absolutely no reason to think that there’s no chance,” Dutta adds. There is help available, and getting back to work can be a focus of treatment.
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