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What Is Anomic Aphasia and How Can It Be Treated?

what is anomic aphasia

Do you or a loved one have anomic aphasia?

If so, there’s good news:

Of all the types of aphasia, anomic aphasia is considered mild, and it can be treated.

Today we’ll address the various symptoms and types of anomic aphasia. Then we’ll dig into treatment.

What Is Anomic Aphasia?

Anomic aphasia is a language condition that makes word-retrieval difficult, especially for nouns.

In rare cases this condition is genetic. Most of the time, however, anomic aphasia is caused by damage to the language center of the brain from stroke or other trauma.

For example, someone with anomic aphasia might see an apple and be able to describe it at great length without being able to name it.

She might know that you can eat it and that it’s red, but she just can’t recall the name apple.

Luckily, anomic aphasia is a mild form of aphasia that does not affect the person’s ability to understand what others are saying.

They can listen and read just fine. It’s mostly word-recall that they struggle with.

What Types of Anomic Aphasia Are There?

There are 4 different types of anomic aphasia. They are:

1. Word Selection Anomia

This type of anomic aphasia makes it difficult to recall the name for an object. They may know what the object is or means, but they cannot name it.

Example: The anomic person sees an apple and knows that it’s red and edible but cannot name it.

2. Semantic Anomia

Semantic anomia is like the inverse of word selection anomia where words have lost their meaning. They know the name of an object, but they do not know what the word means.

Example: You see the word banana but don’t know what it means. You can see a photo of different fruits but can’t pick out the banana.

3. Disconnection Anomia

This type of anomic aphasia involves a disconnection between sensation and language. Someone can know an object by touching it but not by seeing it.

Example: You see an orange but don’t know that it’s an orange until you touch it.

4. Callosal Anomia

This type of anomic aphasia is the most interesting. In callosal anomia, the two hemispheres of the brain cannot communicate with each other.

Since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice versa, someone with callosal anomia cannot recognize an object in their left hand.

Example: You hold an orange in your left hand and don’t know what it is. When you hold it in your right hand, you know it’s an orange.

Understanding How to Treat Anomic Aphasia

To understand how to treat anomic aphasia, you must first understand some critical details of how it’s caused.

Anomic aphasia is caused when the connections in your brain that once controlled word-retrieval are damaged.

In order to recover your ability to retrieve the right words, you need to rewire your brain, which is possible thanks to neuroplasticity.

Rewiring Your Brain

Neuroplasticity is your brain’s innate ability to rewire itself based on what you repeatedly practice.

When you begin to practice retrieving words, your brain begins to form new connections that control word-retrieval.

It’s just like learning a new skill. The more you practice, the better you will get at it.

Speech Therapy for Anomic Aphasia

Therefore, the best way to treat anomic aphasia is by practicing speech therapy exercises that emphasize word-retrieval.

This will help rewire your brain and improve the aphasia.

The best way to start is by working with a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

SLPs are highly specialized in how to treat all types of aphasia. They can tailor an exercise regimen that will have the best impact.

Here’s a video that demonstrates speech therapy for anomic aphasia:

Overcoming Anomic Aphasia

In summary, anomic aphasia is a condition that affects the ability to retrieve words, especially when it comes to nouns.

Someone with anomic aphasia can likely understand you just fine. Their main struggle is with finding the right words.

The best way to treat this condition is by rewiring the brain through speech therapy exercises.

The more you stimulate that brain and practice retrieving words, the better you will get at it.

It will require lots of hard work and patience, but recovery is possible!

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