Speech Therapy

Medications in Selective Mutism

Children suffering from Selective Mutism do not get along with people well socially. They show some kind of anxiety and fear talking to outsiders.

Medicines used to treat anxiety in Selective Mutism:
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, an antidepressant), especially ‘Fluoxetine’ has shown some effect in controlling anxiety in selective mutism. These medicines make certain desirable changes in the brain and the nervous system. General symptoms of anxiety are- dry mouth, high palpitations, tightness of the chest, lightheadedness, nausea etc. Not all people suffering from social anxiety need medication. Only a few whose daily activities are hampered by their anxiety requires medication. Proper case study and family history is needed to be checked before any medication.

The Activity of the Antidepressants:
The brain carries out its functions with the help of cells called neurons. These neurons help in passing the signals from the brain to other part of the body. A compound called Serotonin present in our body is associated with controlling the signals of anxiety. The SSRI group of Antidepressants increase the activities of the Serotonin in the CNS (Central Nervous System). In this way, the anxiety in a person is controlled. But, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), SSRIs may result in increase in suicidal tendencies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
This therapy is generally performed by specialized medical professionals like – psychologist, psychiatrist, pediatrician etc. The methods used in this therapy are:

  • Contingency with stimulus fading: Any undesirable behavior increased by any external factor is taken care of by this therapy. For e.g.- speaking loud with increase in light etc. The child is continuously exposed to these external factors which will gradually help in decreasing the behaviour.
  • Behavior Shaping: In this therapy the child is appreciated and rewarded when he attempts to get closer to the desired behaviour.
  • Aversive Interventions: Here the child is forced to do undesirable behaviour more so that he does not continue doing that.
  • Systematic Desensitization: The child is taught how to control his anger, anxiety or sadness in an undesirable situation.
  • Extinction: Undesired behaviors like – refusing to go somewhere or denials to speak should be ignored.
  • Modeling: Get a peer to teach him how to stay calm at stressful situations.
  • In vivo Exposure: Repeated exposures to certain situations will reduce the intensity of undesirable activity in that situation.
  • Consultations:
    Check if any hearing loss or any other disorder is there in the child.

    No specific dietary recommendations have proven effective in selective mutism.

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