Stuttering & Brain Chemistry

Working on the Underlying Cause of Stuttering

The Link Between Stuttering & Brain Chemistry

There have been numerous breakthroughs in regard to stuttering in the past 20-30 years.  Truly, it is a wholly different world for stutters today than it was only a generation ago. One of the most promising areas of current research and treatment centers around correcting imbalances in brain chemistry in stutterers.

First and foremost, it should me mentioned, then mentioned again, that the science behind all of this is very new and no one quite knows how any of this works.  There are a lot of good ideas out there that may hold promise, but we are very much in the early days of these sorts of treatments for stuttering.

Basically speaking, a lot of the current research about stuttering and brain chemistry is targeting the imbalance of various neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically an over-abundance of dopamine and/or an under-abundance of GABA.

Since this is such a new area, there are lots of opinions about what the underlying issues are, as well as how best to address them. Seemingly, there are almost as many opinions out there as there are people working on it. Any opinion, though, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.   No one therapy or theory has emerged as effective for everyone. However, especially for those utilizing a natural approach, it is possible for nearly everyone to give possible solutions a try and see what works, and what doesn’t, for them.

Here’s My $.02

I’m not a scientist, and I am certainly not a doctor, not even on the Internet.  I’m someone who has stuttered for 30 years and has experienced significant reduction in stuttering by managing my own brain chemistry (typically, between an 80% and 90%, some days 100%).   Will what worked for me work exactly the same for everybody?  Of course not, people are far too unique for any one thing to work for everyone, especially when it comes to something as personal as brain chemistry.

However, I have seen what works for me work for others.  What it takes, though, is working with each person’s unique biochemistry to find a program that works.  Stuttering is more than just an issue with speech fluency and we work to explore all of the angles of stuttering to find a course of action that completely addresses one’s issues.

Where My Approach Differs

There are two things that are unique about my approach.  First, I use natural means to support brain chemistry.  I do not believe pharmaceuticals are bad, they’re just not my first choice.  The truth is, pharmaceuticals have created miracles in people’s lives, and it would be foolish to demonize them outright.  My preference, based on personal experience, is to look for natural solutions wherever possible, and thus, my program is based on naturally-based means of supporting and balancing brain chemistry.

Second, instead of suppressing troublesome neurotransmitters, I believe in boosting insufficient ones.  Specifically, I believe, for a lot of stutterers, boosting dopamine and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) can be incredibly helpful.  This is a little counter-logical, since it seems that boosting an energizing neurotransmitter like norepinephrine would lead to higher anxiety and feeling overly ‘keyed-up’.  Additionally, pharmaceuticals for stuttering often try and diminish dopamine, especially in the language center of the brain.

Using All the Tools

As opposed to just using a pharmaceutical med to treat brain chemistry issues, I work with people to manage their brain chemistry using all the tools at their disposal.  In a nutshell, these consist of nutrition, psychology, and behavior.

I work with people to support their brain chemistry in numerous ways.  First, we work to identify possible imbalances and design a nutritional approach to address them.  Then, we include several other supporting factors.  We work to get stress down, we work to help find balance, and we work to properly address and support the numerous side-effects in our lives stuttering can create.  Stuttering can be a heavy burden, especially on those who are a little more sensitive, as we work to untangle as many knots as possible.

No One Has All the Answers

We would all love a magic wand to magically vanquish stuttering away, but I am afraid that it has been my experience that it takes a lot more work and dedication than that.  However, there are possible answers out there, and I work with people to find the solutions that will (and do) work best for them.  No one knows what is perfect for everyone.  Finding effective relief and management of stuttering requires diligence, perseverance, and tailoring solutions to fit the person’s individual needs.

Beware of anyone promising cure-alls and instant relief.  My promise is to work with people and help them find what works for them, individually.

Want to Learn More?

Feel free to contact me with any questions you have.