Mutism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

mutism

[′myü‚tiz·əm]
(medicine)
Inability or refusal to speak.

Mutism

 

the inability or refusal to speak that takes place in the absence of any organic lesions of the vocal apparatus. Occurring mainly in shy, timid, physically weak children, mutism results from a reaction to a traumatic mental stimulus such as fright, insult, conflict, or excessive demand. Mutism is also found in patients suffering from schizophrenia and hysteria. Hysterical mutism is usually complete, that is, the patient does not utter a single word; he does not maintain oral contact but communicates by writing. The ability to speak disappears suddenly and returns just as unexpectedly. Voluntary mutism is common in children: the child does not answer questions in school but talks normally at home and in the street. Sometimes he does not answer the questions of one teacher but does respond normally to others.

Mutism is temporary but varies in duration. It sometimes continues for years, in which case it causes mental retardation. Treatment involves the elimination of factors that traumatize the nervous system; treatment of the disease that caused the mutism; use of general restorative measures; and psychotherapy. Preventive measures include strengthening of the child’s nervous system and a proper upbringing that encourages independence, activity, and sociability.

Surdimutism—the functional impairment of hearing and speech—is a special form of the condition. Unlike deaf mutism, which is caused by the permanent organic impairment of hearing, surdimutism is temporary. It is generally observed in wartime as one of the symptoms of contusion. Speech and hearing in surdimutism are usually quickly restored by disinhibition therapy. Sometimes surdimutism can be corrected without any special treatment. In a few cases the disease becomes protracted and requires the coordinated attention of neurologists, otorhinolaryngologists, speech therapists, and specialists in the teaching of deaf-mutes.

L. V. NEIMAN

References in periodicals archive ?
In patients with both catatonia and delirium, the most common signs of catatonia were autonomic abnormalities (96%), immobility/stupor (87%), staring (77%), mutism (60%), and posturing (60%).
Selective mutism is shown growing or dissipating as children struggle to articulate their internal commotion.
Emma, who also runs a sup port group for parents of children with additional needs, said: "His mutism is a daily thing.
Integrated behavior therapy for selective mutism: a randomized controlled pilot study.
Physical examination revealed waxy flexibility, mutism, and rigidity in the entire body.
CJD can present with rapid cognitive decline, gait disturbance, and visual and behavioural disturbances and can progress to myoclonus and akinetic mutism [8, 10, 11, 13, 14].
Most patients deteriorate swiftly to a state of akinetic mutism. The mean duration of illness is around 4.5 months [3].
Readers will find satisfaction in their love not being a magic cure-all for Steffi's selective mutism. Although there are descriptive scenes of sexual activities between Steffi and Rhys, they realistically portray the excitement and awkwardness of first love.
The Selective Mutism Anxiety & Related Disorders Treatment Center (SMart Center) specializes in research and treatment of selective mutism and other social communication disorders.
Finding Voice: Treating Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety
I realized right away it was selective mutism, which you usually find in young children: They will clam up the minute they get to the school and stay silent the whole day.