Stuttering is a developmental disorder with a strong neurological component. In most cases, it begins to present itself in childhood, is made worse by anxiety, and occurs in males more frequently than in females.
There is no known medical “cure” for stuttering and the cause of the disorder is complex. However, in recent years researchers have found stutterers suffer from excessive dopamine levels in the striatal region of the brain – best known for its role in influencing motor skills – by as much as 300%. Various double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found that medicines which help control dopamine levels can significantly reduce stuttering frequency and severity. Pairing a dopamine antagonist with an anti-anxiety medication can further increase treatment success rates.
The optimal treatment plan for stuttering will always include a prevalent aspect of the established, traditional speech therapies. But these new advancements in our understanding of the clinical root of stuttering suggest medication can augment traditional forms of treatment. Our hope at the Center for Integrative Wellness is that individualized treatment combining therapy and psychopharmacological management as appropriate will optimize relief of stuttering symptoms.
For more information on the medical aspects of stuttering and its treatments, please refer to these articles published by The Stuttering Foundation: