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Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

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Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

Postby Panic » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:49 am

Ever since I learned how to talk I was Selectively Mute. I only talked/talk to selective family members and friends (all in all about 5 people). Other times I just felt/feel anxious and fell.fall silent in social interaction. I also have Autism in which people say SM is ruled out when Autism is in the picture. But considering my mutism is anxiety related rather than a communication problem, I still hold this label.

My question is, however, is that, can adults continue to have Selective Mutism? I hear a lot about children and the difficulty, but not so much about adults. In many ways, people find childrens mutism correctable and find it easy to tolerate. While when adults view other adults with SM, we're considered odd, annoying or disrespectful (I get more lectures than understanding these days).

I don't like talking, so I'm not botherd so much to what people think of me. They dont comprehend the meaning, but I don't expect all people to. Although being "the quiet one" in functions is fine by me, I'd really love to order for myself at restaurants (I'm 18!!!).

Any advice, or answers on my general question? Hrm..I wonder how pathetic I look at this moment :oops: ?

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Postby Alethiea » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:05 am

Apparently not. Have you checked out this site?

http://www.selectivemutism.org/smg/adult.htm

Good luck.
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Postby Kyle Roberts » Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:25 pm

It seems like selective mutism is a much much worse form of social phobia (their is at least some link, and a similar fear or people and hostilty), so it makes sense an adult can develop it with bad experinces.
I wonder how it would happen?
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Postby Cookie Monster » Sun May 04, 2008 9:13 am

Yes there are adults who suffer with Selective Mutism.
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Postby bdaley » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:14 am

Dear Panic:
SM is considered a childhood panic (anxiety) disorder because that is when it develops and is most often diagnosed. Certainly left untreated or not addressed properly, it becomes an adult issue. I realize that you are also autistic, so you probably have gotten some treatment for your SM. There are experts in the field who have experience in behavioral and drug therapy relating to SM and maybe you could benefit from that? My daughter has SM and she came a long way with behavioral therapy and is now able to order for herself in a restaurant and better able to talk to others more comfortably. Best wishes to you..it sounds like you have already come a long way!!
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Postby Jaspar » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:13 pm

I knew an adult that had temporary mutism for a couple months. Not sure if that is different from "selective" mutism. I guess it was more like "elective" mutism, except that it did not seem at all elective to the person. She felt like she simply could NOT talk -- like having severe laryngitis except the doctor said it wasn't. She had to work hard to start talking again.
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Re: Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

Postby nb0474 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:27 am

Hi,
I think I have anxiety with mutism (I'm 35). I have something like this and it happened maybe 3 months ago when I had some problems at work and I quit job. I feel fear most of the time and that fear is in my stomach (I felt one night how fear is filling up my stomach area), and I can't talk for long. There is something in the back of my throat that makes it hard to speak (I felt one time like the muscles or something else in the back of my throat relax which I never experienced before), and then I swallow saliva and it looks like I'm going to start crying. And it's related to sinuses also (congested). When I talk to somebody and a sad subject comes up, something comes from my stomach area (adrenaline, I suppose) and spreads to my shoulders and shuts down my throat area and I can't speak. It's true that I'm holding some suppressed emotions inside of me, but I don't know how to get them out (not sure if that is the reason). I lost my confidence 90%. Can't even speak with my parents (I live alone). I was able to fix it one time in a matter of seconds (I was writting on the computer about the things that happened to me and before that for the first time in my life I had strong energy drink and in one moment I felt my body filling up with endorphins (I guess) and when it filled up my stomach area throat tightness was gone and I could talk normally without any problems and depression was gone (I felt strong palpilations and my blood pressure shoot up to 190 over 110). Few days after that I felt great, but after one party I had panic attack in the morning and everything reversed, so I'm kind of scared to try it again. This is how I experience it.
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Re: Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

Postby Porcelain Soul » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:49 am

No. We have a friend who was diagnosed either late last year or early this year. She is 20. She told me that it didn't really start until she was 14/15. We know that's still childhood, but most develop it earlier than that.
I'm getting better, although there was a long period where I couldn't talk to anyone except my boyfriend, his mum and my Nanna. It's not just a childhood disorder. Most people with SM develop it in childhood, but like any other disorder, it's unpredictable. Anyone can develop it at any age.
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Re: Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

Postby kylierenea » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:12 am

I don't know too much about selective mutism besides what I've read about four years ago and the fact that I have it, and I've wondered the same thing, if it's more than just a child's disorder. I just turned 20 years old and I still struggle with communicating with particular family members. I've never had a problem talking to strangers when I was younger, mostly because I wasn't exposed to them besides family members that I didn't spend much time around. I remember never being afraid of kids, no matter what their age, but I was terrified of adults for some reason. Now it's not exactly easy to speak to adults, even though I now am one, but I don't not[i]speak to adults anymore, besides the ones I stopped speaking to in the first place. I know this doesn't sound that difficult, and maybe a little silly, to everyone else, but I don't see myself speaking to my grandparents, aunts and uncles any time soon. I'm sorry you struggle with this as well, but know you're not the only adult who does.[/i]
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Re: Is SM really a "childhood disorder"?

Postby Jaspar » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:41 pm

kylierenea,

That is so much like the person I know!!! She could not speak to full-grown men when they got stern, serious, or disapproving. Then she grew up and STILL had that problem! It was such a struggle for her especially being in a male-dominated profession (engineering). Then that episode I was telling about that was more like elective mutism because she couldn't talk to ANYONE followed being "talked to" by a male manager.

Whew... she is now in her 50s and I think she is over it, but it was a lot of work on her part, and I think it took a lot of bravery, strength... and in some ways... letting ANGER overpower her fear. Anger at... herself for not being able to be angry at the MEN, and, well, I am sure it is a lot of complex emotions... and yes, anxiety has a LOT to do with it.
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