Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alcohol and stuttering

A readers asked me how drinking affects my stuttering. I had a very clear answer. I am a teetotal and I just don't know! ,-)

Generally two things happen. You can get more relaxed, you think much less about what other people think about you, and your motor control goes down. So I expect moderate drinking to ease stuttering, and severe drinking to let you loose motor control.

To be honest, I am not sure about research findings. People taking any drugs (psychoactive substances) report changes in fluency, but it seems to be different for different people.

So share your experience with us! Any drug is allowed! ;-)


Anonymous said...

I (kind of) stay away from alcohol for this very reason, i relax and can speak much more fluently. With addiction in my family, I worry that I could definitely get used to speaking easier with the aid of alcohol. My mom who stuttered said she smoked pot for many years as it calmed her stuttering.

Pascal NL said...

Prescription methylphenidate didn't worsen my stammering, although it's said to cause tremors and spasms in some individuals. I did the Del Ferro training a couple of years ago and the instructor insisted no one would use alcohol or drugs, as they would reduce control of the diaphragm (important for speech and breathing).

Anonymous said...

For me: zero difference. Which is no surprise, since stuttering is a language disorder--not an emotional disorder. Anxiety is a reliable stuttering "trigger" in the same way that a butterfly flapping its wings in Malaysia is a reliable "trigger". Just this morning, relaxed with my slippers on, I was telling an anecdote to my lovely wife, in absolute tranquility, and GASP... I stuttered. I stutter when I am elated, relaxed, nervous, bored, intrigued, angry, and every other feeling from the emotional spectrum. And, as a moderate stutterer, I am fluent under those--prepare yourself--exact same conditions!

Anonymous said...

"I did the Del Ferro training a couple of years ago"

Say no more. I sure hope you didn't spend any money--unless, of course, you are masochistically comfortable giving donations to crackpot pseudo-scientists.


"The Del Ferro method is based on diaphragmatic breathing, and participants were told at the outset that stammering "is nothing in your brains. It just has to do with the training of the diaphragm. So you are going to push with your hands on the ribs so that the diaphragm will move fluently up, and it pushes the air out.""

This was in 1997. Is this organization still around? If so, it should be sued/shamed out of existence.

Anonymous said...

for me a day or two after drinking I notice deterioration in my speech which can last for up to a week. I've tested it few times with same results. My theory is related to b1/b6 or other vitamins which alcohol has an adverse affect on.

Anonymous said...

alcohol has only made my stuttering alot worse. After the peak high of MDMA and shrooms ive notice my speech to become more fluent than normal.

Pascal NL said...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 16:45:00 CET
If Del Ferro is still around? They have just celebrated their 25th anniversary! They're getting a fair share of attention in the media. Their business is better than ever. What strikes me is that some people are very negative about Del Ferro. And others cure their stammering for good with the method. So it seems to me Del Ferro is not unlike other alternative therapies out there. Not a magic bullet, but put your back into it and and you can definitely improve.

Spending money is the downside when it comes to Del Ferro, it is expensive. I spent at least €3000 because you have to stay in Amsterdam... Good news is I got the money back ;-). And my stammering has finally improved very much!

Anonymous said...

@Pascal NL:

No therapy results in "curing stammering for good". Not a single one. That's misinformation--a false claim, plain and simple. You are wrong, as is the Del Ferro method for claiming this.

Comments like yours (and "therapies" like the Del Ferro method) are just one more reason why many types of stuttering treatment and attitudes are still stuck in the dark ages.

Anonymous said...

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) reduces my stuttering by about 90%. I take it every four hours for ADD and rarely forget a dose because my stuttering returns after three and a half hours. This not scientific by any means, but it is my experience after five years on this medication.

Anonymous said...

I've taken various drugs in various amounts over the years. The only one I still regularly use (or have done for years) is alcohol. I found the effects were

Alcohol: my stammer is pretty much eliminated after a couple of drinks. The day after I might feel my stammer is a little worse - if I've had a lot to drink, it may be quite a bit worse

Pot: I still stammered when I was high, maybe less, and I certainly cared less. Afterwards it was certainly worse.

Coke & ecstasy (MDMA): Never, ever stammered or even thought about stammering while I was high - which is odd given the hyper/manic state. But... the day afterwards my jaw would be locked up and I could sometimes literally not say a word. This occasionally lasted longer. One time I think it may have had a significant, long term (weeks/months) effect after I had a somewhat "lost weekend"... but I'm not sure.

I'm a good boy now. :)

Anonymous said...

Personally i've found intoxication beneficial to speaking, merely in terms of letting go, not thinking about stammering and having fun. Under alcohol my stammering would be greatly reduced simply because it hardly entered my thoughts. Among people who I'm uncomfortable with, alcohol generally helps letting go.
Stimulant type drugs such as Coke and E make me chatter away with hardly any blocks and I abused them for years (been sober for a year now).
Marijuana tended to make my stammer worse and I found it very difficult to converse with people while blazed.
I would not recommend drinking or taking drugs as a form of stuttering management or medication. Drugs merely mask your problems, you will find greater satisfaction working through your stuttering sober.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting discussion. Thanks especially to those reporting on the effects of so many different drugs - you probably qualify for retrospective research grants!

Anonymous said...

Lifelong stutterer, attended and tried all of the expensive American programs of the 1980s-2000s.

3 1/2 drinks nearly completely eliminates the stutter - I need to drink 1-2 drinks each hour to maintain this, and can be done indefinitely, or obviously until I have to sleep.

However, the most fluent that I ever become is during a bad alcohol hangover, where I can get sometimes 5-6 hours of complete fluency - which then rapidly deteriorates into worse stuttering for approx 24 hours after - then normalizes.

Not sure why this is not discussed more, it cannot be a coincidence - I can actually sense the neurochemical change. It is the same every time, with no change based on environment/situation.

I have tried all other relevant legal (and perhaps in some places illegal) drugs with no similar result - that is until the correct amount of alcohol is added on top of it.

Unless my experience is totally unique (how can it be?) then this should be studied.

Using alcohol as a crutch, by the way, is not negative, and in most cases probably not dangerous or harmful (beyond the obvious physiologically harmful effect of the alcohol itself). You just have to totally accept what you are doing and keep a clear focus. You have limit your alcohol use to situations where it is required. You don't poor yourself a drink when you are home alone or with your family, for example. You use it in a very targeted way, as a tool.

Anonymous said...

Most stutterers I know stutter less with moderate drinking.

I know one who stutters more.

In the first case, inhibition-drien stuttering is reduced.

In the second case, maybe it's the inhibitions themselves that have let loose.

Unknown said...

There is something in alcohol and the stammer improving.

When I drink the day before, the next day I have crystal clear clarity of speech with zero stammering which really surprises me and feels great..
Sometimes when I know I have a work/social event which requires me to talk, I actually have a few drinks the night before because I know it helps.. Bad, but sometimes necessary.

I want to start something on this but I haven't got a clue where to start...

Anonymous said...

My 20 year old son has developed a stutter in the last 18-months but he only stutters when he drinks alcohol? He never stuttered before and he tells me he hasn't experienced any trauma. Its deeply upsetting for him, especially when he's socializing with friends and girls. We live in Europe where the drinking age is 18. I've arranged counseling for him with no insights thus far. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this or have any advice? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous

My stutter gets worse when drunk/high BUT while it's wearing off, I talk like I've never had it! A few close ones have noticed this too.

During night long parties, there'd be at least one instance where I'll embarrass myself (because of the stutter). But as I stay through the celebration without sleeping and keep flushing out the booze, people look at me incredulously like there's some split personality thing happening.

It works like a charm but I don't want to make it a habit and pave the way for alcohol dependency.

Any studies that explains the neurological relation between alcohol and stuttering?

Anonymous said...

My son is 38 year old and drinks every day of his life and has for the last several years. He just recently began to stutter and it seems to be getting worse. I believe it is because of the alcohol overload in his system. Of course, he does not. The alcohol never gets completely out of his system. I'm also concerned that it cold possibly be neurological. I believe there should be more studies and/or research done on the connection between alcohol use and stuttering.

Anonymous said...

I only ever stammer when I'm hungover. Can't explain it. Drunk or sober, I have no issues, but if I was pissed last night (which I was) then I'll be stuttering today (which I was).

Anonymous said...

Like many have said, 3 drinks in and I can speak fluently and confidently in most any situation. It’s really unfortunate for me because I have alcoholism/abuse in my family, and the effect on my stuttering makes unhealthy habits more appealing. Hungover I am a mess, once the alcohol is beginning to get out of my system. Usually in the morning after a big night I am fine, then things go downhill. Which has the u fortunate habit of turning what would be a few nights of boozing on a typical weekend into a full on bender, to delay the inevitable. I used to be a big pot smoker, and I think it helped me. Now it has the opposite effect, which is why I stay away from it.

Unknown said...

You just described my situation.. There is definitely something in the alcohol or the effect that it causes.
This could be a cure and needs looking into!!

Unknown said...

Hello! I'm actually a veterinarian and motivational speaker. I have a bit of a stammer. It really started in college when I started drinking. I started drinking around age 20. I had never had problems before.

I need to slow down to rdeuce the stutter. Also, no alcohol the day before I speak! Alcohol the night before makes it much worse.

If I have to speak, practicing the material and really knowing it well makes it better.

Good luck

Unknown said...

So crazy! That's exactly the way it is for me. I still stutter sometimes when I'm sober, but it's clearly worse after heavy drinking.

Steve John said...

alcohol has only made my stuttering alot worse. After the peak high of MDMA and shrooms ive notice my speech to become more fluent than normal.

hangover drink

Anonymous said...

In my late teens, I discovered that 2-3 beers helped reduce my stuttering dramatically. I could finally talk to girls! Unfortunately, I really hate the taste of beer. Now that I am a lot older and have put on many pounds, I find I have to drink much more to even get a buzz. I have tried and found Xanax to be very helpful and it mimics the calming effects of beer without the nasty taste. Unfortunately a major side effect is it makes me very sleepy. If I use it, I usually have to come home from work and crash/sleep. However, I'd recommend a fellow stutterer to try a low dosage for specific events. Just be careful when driving or operating equipment.