Many of the worst anxiety symptoms can make you feel like there is something wrong with your brain. Our brains are arguably the most important part of our bodies, and deep down many people with anxiety have a fear that their brain may fail them. They worry that something is wrong with their brain, like a tumor or multiple sclerosis, and that worry causes them even more anxiety.
Slurred speech is an example of an anxiety symptom that can be incredibly frightening. But it's common with those suffering from anxiety attacks, and in most cases it says nothing about the health of your brain.
Anxiety Make it Hard to Talk?
Anxiety and anxiety attacks can cause a host of issues that may lead to slurred speech - almost like it is hard to get your thoughts out of your brain.
If you're worried, contact your doctor. But if you also have other anxiety symptoms, fill out our free anxiety test to see your anxiety score, compare your anxiety to others, and find helpful information on treatments.
Causes of Anxiety Slurred Speech
Slurred speech is when your words are jumbled together. It's known as Dysarthria, and the problem isn't really with the words themselves. The problem is generally with the muscles that you use to talk. That's what occurs when you drink too much alcohol, and your muscles simply don't work as properly.
However, slurred speech is also partially subjective. So it's possible that it's your ability to recall and speak words that is at play as well. You should take my free 7 minute anxiety test first before you read onward, since it will help you understand your anxiety better.
Slurred speech without alcohol is linked to a variety of scary diseases, including:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Brain Tumors
- Lyme Disease
- Head Injury
- Cerebral Palsy
If you think there's any chance that you may suffer from this or any related condition, see a doctor. You should never leave your brain's health up to chance, because your brain is simply too important to take those types of risks.
However, it should be noted that in most of those cases, the slurred speech is long lasting. It may fade in and out over the course of a lifespan, but rarely a few hours or less. It's possible, which is why this isn't a risk you should take to chance, but it's uncommon.
It's possible that what you have is anxiety, and anxiety can cause slurred speech, as well as issues that resemble slurred speech. All of the following are potential links between stress/anxiety and slurring of words:
- Overactive Thoughts One of the key reasons that some people slur their words is because anxiety makes it so hard to focus their brain. Stress can affect recall and mental accuracy, and extreme anxiety can cause you to be so far "in your head" that it is extremely difficult to get words out. In a way, anxiety makes your brain work too hard, and when it does some of the other things your brain needs to do don't work as well - like speaking.
- Muscle Tension Anxiety also causes significant muscle tension. Muscle tension can make it harder to move mouth muscles, which of course is the main cause of slurred speech in most other conditions.
- Over-Awareness An interesting problem with anxiety is the way it makes you over-aware of what would otherwise be subconscious/automatic behaviors. It's seen in other areas of life as well - for example, anxiety can make it harder for some people to walk because they're more aware of the movements in their legs. It can affect the mouth and speech as well. Speech is an automatic movement, and during intense anxiety your mouth movements may be controlled by you rather than your subconscious mind, making them much harder to do.
- Anxiety Medications Slurred speech is the side effect of many different anxiety medications. Most often it's because these medications act as muscle relaxants and make it harder and harder to move the muscles in your mouth and face.
- Tiredness, Caffeine, and More Several fairly normal issues can also affect speech. For example, those that are very tired may be more prone to slurred speech because their brain is not functioning as well as normal. Tiredness (as well as a lack of caffeine for those with caffeine addiction and other issues that may affect alertness) slows the brain down to the point where both muscles and function work less effectively.
These are just some of the reasons that anxiety may be responsible for slurred speech. It should also be noted that some slurred speech once in a while is normal even in those without anxiety. But when you have anxiety, it's easy to feel as though your problems speaking mean "something more" than what someone without anxiety would think.
Slurred Speech From Anxiety Isn't Dangerous
While it's important to talk with your doctor about the cause of your slurred speech, slurred speech caused by anxiety is not dangerous. It's not a sign that you have something else coming, or that your brain will somehow be inefficient for handling life tasks in the future.
There isn't a specific treatment for slurred speech because slurred speech is simply a response to anxiety. One thing you should do, however, is avoid forcing the words out. If your speech is slurring, forcing yourself to speak is going to add more stress. The more you try to force out words that aren't coming out naturally, the more you'll find that the words become more troubling as your brain becomes more stressed as a result.
You then need to learn tricks to calm down and control your anxiety forever.
Do you have slurred speech? I've worked with thousands of people that felt like their speech was slurring. You should start right now with my free anxiety test. It's the only way to get to know your symptoms and figure out how to make sure your anxiety will be cred forever.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.