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What Is Pressure of Speech?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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"Pressure of speech" is a term used to refer to rapid, frenzied, and an often-cluttered fashion of speech. The tone of such speech often seems highly urgent, though the content is often nonsensical, or at least highly tangential, and difficult for the casual listener to follow. This symptom is characteristic of psychological disorders that involve mania, such as bipolar disorder, which is characterized by bouts of severe depression followed by manic episodes. Individuals with this type of speech tend to feel a particular urgency to communicate to others because they believe that they have an important point or because they just want to talk. Pressure of speech is considered to be a thought disorder, meaning that the outwardly rushed and cluttered speech reflects some issues in the flow and continuity of the speaker's thoughts.

It is important to note that the term "pressure of speech" specifically refers to rushed and urgent speech resulting from an underlying sense of urgency or anxiety in a person's thoughts — specifically, such speech reflects an underlying urgency and difficulty in the speaker's thought processes, and this translates into speech. A speaker with disorders that lead to such speech patterns are physically capable of speaking normally, but their thoughts pass too rapidly and are too cluttered to effectively translate into speech. Individuals who speak rapidly or in a difficult-to-understand manner for other reasons are not said to have pressured speech.

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In many cases, pressure of speech reflects not only the pace of the speaker's thoughts, but also their jumbled content. The speaker may move rapidly from topic to topic with little apparent continuity, for example, and rapid and tangential speech is often accompanied by high levels of energy and excitement. The speaker often feels that he has come across some highly important ideas that he must share or that it is, for some reason, absolutely vital for others to know what he is thinking.

Many aspects of one's professional and personal life are likely to require the ability to communicate effectively. An individual who has issues with pressure of speech, therefore, may find it difficult to perform well at work or to build and maintain strong friendships. Such an individual may also find school to be difficult, as sitting quietly in class while one feels the urgent need to express something may be difficult and distracting. It is often difficult to specifically treat pressure of speech. In most cases, it is necessary to attempt to treat the underling psychological disorder if one wishes to find relief from the problem.

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