Individualized aphasia treatment depends on the underlying cause of the speech problem as well as the overall health of the patient. Those who have had what is commonly referred to as a mini-stroke may experience a complete recovery within a matter of days. In most cases, speech therapy is the aphasia treatment of choice and may involve a combination of individual and group therapy sessions. Prescription medications may sometimes be used to treat symptoms such as depression and agitation caused by the inability to communicate verbally. Surgical intervention may be used as a form of aphasia treatment in some situations, such as when a tumor is present or there is bleeding in the brain.
A mini-stroke, medically referred to as a transient ischemic attack, may sometimes cause a temporary or permanent inability to speak clearly, a symptom known as aphasia. Depending on the extent of the damage to the brain, normal speech patterns may return without the need for medical intervention. In some cases, surgical removal of a tumor or other corrective brain surgery may be the first line of aphasia treatment. If the problem persists, speech therapy will likely be recommended by the supervising physician.
Speech therapy is the standard aphasia treatment method in most cases. Before an individualized treatment plan is developed, the patient is evaluated in order to determine if any verbal communication is possible, the extent of the brain damage, and the level of willingness the patient has in learning how to communicate more effectively. The speech therapist then works with the supervising physician to create a plan of care based on the specific needs of the patient.
During aphasia treatment, the patient and therapist may work on bridging communication gaps by using pictures or the written word to communicate with one another. As the patient's health permits, the treatment may move into a social setting. This can be through group therapy sessions or controlled outings to public locations such as restaurants or department stores. Through social exposure, the patient has a chance to use some of the communication skills learned during aphasia treatment.
An inability to speak well enough to effectively communicate with others can be frustrating and emotionally traumatizing. Counseling or the use of antidepressants may help the patient learn to cope with these feelings. Family members or caregivers may find help and comfort by joining support groups designed to teach the skills needed to properly assist in the treatment program.