Stuttering OCD link?


My child had a severe stutter and had therapy for many years. It pretty much went away, but now has OCD for several years. Both seems to have the basal ganglia/caudate nucleus involved. Any anictodial evidence  or  research  on this link?

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Stuttering OCD link? — 2 Comments

  1. I’d not an expect on ODC, but there is some research implicating the basal ganglia in stuttering, as well as cluttering. Per Alm published an excellent paper on this topic about 11 or so years ago; it is well worth reading.

    The BG is also dysfunctional in Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, the substantia nigra of the midbrain seems to degenerate, and this area of the brain normally produces dopamine to be sent up to the BG. Besides the motor symptoms that PD patients usually experience as a result of this reduction in dopamine, some patients also develop OCD-like behaviors (e.g., compulsive gambling). However, it is unclear as to whether this is the result of the disease itself, or the dopamine agonists that some patients are prescribed.

    It is an interesting question, for sure.


  2. Ahm (2004) as Paul suggested is an excellent review of the role of the Basal Ganglia in developmental stuttering. Also, the BG loop has been implicated in OCD and also stereotypic behaviors such as those seen with Tourette’s syndrome. Again, I have not found any relevant research that answers your question, am curious to see if others have any information. Anecdotally, I did work with an adolescent a few years ago who had some physical tics (similar to Tourette’s but no formal diagnosis) along with his stuttering. Surprisingly, a lot of the stuttering modification and desensitization approaches for stuttering (including disclosure) helped considerably with controlling his tics as well. Wish you and your child the best.