Restrictions in the life of a patient with dysphasia

Restrictions in the life of a patient with dysphasia         

  • Apart from the linguistic field, aphasia has also an impact on the patients’ daily lives, their jobs, their social interactions and  relationships with the other people and closed relatives. So, aphasia should be considered as a “multi-facet disorder which demands a flexible and integrated therapy and support”.(Pound C., Parr S., Lindsay J. & Woolf C.,2002, p 1)        
  • Many patients with aphasia confront great difficulties in their everyday lives because of their impairment and disability. The psychosocial effects and the emotional needs of the patients are considered to play significant and prominent role in the rehabilitation and recovery of aphasia. For this reason, increased attention has been paid nowadays to these particular fields. Lewis and Rosenberg cite that these patients experience “two main psychological disturbances: anxiety and problems with identity and self-esteem”.(Brumfitt S.,2002, p 20) Some of the main emotional dimensions of aphasia that can influence almost all the aspects of daily and social life are: the low self esteem and self image, the changes in behavior and feelings and the depressive attitude. Basically the loss of normal communication and linguistic impairment may lead to a different life style, characterized by isolated activities.(Lebrun Y., Hoops R.,1978) Most of the patients with dysphasia express “feelings of isolation, loneliness, sensitivity, psychological impoverishment that caused them to avoid and reject people, in fear of their rejection”.(Sarno M.T.,1991, p500) Apart from this, they have to combat feelings of grief, embarrassment, despair, denial, anger and suffer from hopelessness and emptiness. Many of them feel disappointed because of their impairment with result to develop an aggressive and anti-social behavior and attitude. They find it extremely complicated and difficult to adapt themselves in a new way of life where they have to accept their disabilities that have taken place so suddenly. Thus, we reach to the conclusion that the emotional devastation, the frustration, the panic and the grey period of aphasia are the main characteristics of the behavioral changes in the psychology of the aphasic patient.(Howard D., Hatfield F.M.,1987)        
  • Furthermore, the loss of physical health and capacity, for example, in case of hemiplegia, can affect the sexual interest and the relationship between the patient and his/her partner. The fear that sex can cause harm or hurt, make people with aphasia suffer and avoid it. It is extremely painful and hard to face reality from another point of view, that they don’t like and cannot accept. So, catastrophic reactions such as denial to eat, suicide attempts, delusional attitude, panic attacks, violent behavior, devastation, depression, loss of the favor for life are common elements in the aphasics’ attempt to cope with their impairment.(Luria A.R.,1977)         
  • Another important psychological issue that causes frustration and bitterness to patients with aphasia is the loss of the accustomed roles they used to have before the stroke or the TBI incident. These roles may involve the power and the general acceptance they may had in their family, their job, their community. Apart from these, economic barriers are also prominent because most of the people with aphasia lose their jobs as a result of their incapability. This may as a consequence, cause financial problems.          
  • Speech is one of the most vital and significant functions of the human beings. The loss of this important ability makes many patients with aphasia suffer from fear, phobias and embarrassment, as they are unable to participate successfully and communicate, in a social interaction. “The impairment they have with their speech, their memory, their comprehension influences their whole lives as they have difficulties with ordinary activities such as: making calculations, answering the telephone, go for shopping, etc.”.(Enderby P.,Emerson J.,1996)        
  • Moreover, aphasia influences the relationship between the patients with aphasia and their spouses or the family members. Many of them experience “ a variety of negative reactions including shock, guilt, bitterness, depression, loneliness and irritability. The spouses of the patients have to face role changes and altered social lives”.(Sarno M.T.,1991, p 511)          
  • Additionally, they are not  capable of doing the leisure activities, the hobbies and the sports they enjoyed as they cannot do something independently. This has as a consequence, to withdraw from their social lives, their jobs and put barriers in the interactions with their friends. Their lives are being transformed in a pessimistic, negative, lonely and miserable routine. But what positive thinking can do about it?      
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  • PATIOU IOANNA

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