What Are the Most Common Aphasia Symptoms?

Jane Lapham

Aphasia is a language disorder that results from damage to the area of the brain that processes language. As a result, individuals with aphasia have difficulties comprehending and producing language, and may complain of communication difficulties. The damage to the brain that causes aphasia sometimes involves areas that are specific to individual language abilities, and in consequence, aphasia may affect an individual's ability to use language in very specific ways. Among the most common aphasia symptoms are difficulties finding the right word and problems pronouncing words correctly or forming grammatically correct sentences. Anomia is another common symptom of aphasia, in which the affected individual has difficulty with word recall.

Woman with a headache
Woman with a headache

Symptoms of aphasia fall under one of two categories: difficulties understanding language or difficulties producing language. Some individuals with aphasia suffer from problems with both language production and comprehension, while others will have difficulties with only one or the other. Expressive aphasia is aphasia which affects a person's ability to produce spoken and/or written language. Receptive aphasia is aphasia that affects an individual's ability to comprehend spoken and/or written language. When aphasia affects both productive and receptive language abilities, it is called global aphasia.

One of the more common aphasia symptoms is a difficulty remembering the names of things. This is called anomia. Other common symptoms include trouble with the pronunciation of words or difficulties stringing words together to form sentences. A person who is suffering from aphasia might have trouble understanding the things that are said to him or her, especially when the conversation is long or complex. Telegraphic speech can also occur, which is the omission of small grammatical words such as "to", "in", or "of" in speech.

Other aphasia symptoms include trouble reading and writing or an inability to understand metaphors and figures of speech. Some individuals suffering from aphasia use nonsensical words or transpose the sounds of words when speaking. Breakdowns in communication can cause frustrations for both the individual suffering from the disorder and those around him. Many people who suffer from aphasia know exactly what they want to say but cannot produce the right words.

Some aphasia symptoms are more common than others, but even the most common aphasia symptoms do not occur in all forms of aphasia or for all individuals who are affected by the disorder. Some forms of aphasia are quite selective, while others affect many or all of the linguistic abilities of the impaired person.

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