Aphasia affects each person differently. Recovery is often dependent on:
- the severity of the brain damage
- the parts of the brain damaged
- the age of the person
- other communication problems besides aphasia
- the motivation of the person with aphasia and their family/friends
- the emotional and psychological well-being of the person with aphasia.
It's impossible to predict how much language you will regain, but many people continue to show improvement for years. People living with aphasia for ten or more years still report a sense of achievement and progress, even if the improvement might not seem obvious to someone else.
Confidence is very important in recovery from aphasia. Using what you’ve got to communicate has been shown to be more important than being able to find all the right words.
Sarah Gray had a stroke in 2012. She said:
"I look normal, I understand everything and I can speak some words but others just don't come. I didn't like going out alone in case I would have to answer a question. The first time I went to the pharmacist they asked for my name and address. The only word that came out was 'Kathmandu'. The lady serving made me feel awful and other people in the queue moved away. Another time a waiter thought I was drunk because I couldn't say the words to order my food.
"Where possible I explain what has happened but you need to stay brave, pepare for the wrong words to come out and try to laugh rather than cry."
Stroke medication and aphasia recovery
There's some research to show that certain drugs prescribed to help with the after-effects of a stroke or other neurological condition may limit recovery from aphasia.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to:
- explain what each drug is meant to do
- let you know how the drugs interact with one another
- give you a clear timescale and plan for when the medication regime will be reviewed
- let you know what side-effects to look out for and what you should do if any side-effects occur.