Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Understanding the origins of anxiety disorders to understand Selective Mutism

Early Childhood Behavioral Inhibition Linked to Risk of Anxiety Disorders in Adulthood:
(Evidence towards biological bases of anxiety disorders)

Selective Mutism is a widely misunderstood, ignored and under-researched childhood anxiety disorder:
The Child Who Would Not Speak A Word


  1. I was shy as a child and I've always been a little anxious about social interactions, part of which I always thought of as being due to the fact that I was a twin. I sort of perked up when the article mentioned a pair of twin girls who suffer from selective mutism (which I've never had, just to be clear). I wonder if this and other social anxiety issues are more common among twins?

  2. Despite the positive effects of anti-depressants on selective mutism, I still think it is inappropriate to give young children this type of medication. I wasn't surprised when one of the psychiatrists prescribing anti-depressants for selective mutism was shown to have connections to pharmaceutical companies. Are the children unhappy because they are scared to speak, or is it more that the parents are upset that their child is "different"?

  3. Social norms can be difficult to gauge, and it seems in these articles that there is an over-generalization of what is "normal" and "abnormal." Children develop at different rates and certainly interact differently in social situations. I agree with Aidan that is seems premature to medicate young children simply because they are not as communicative as some. I am curious to see similar case studies -- perhaps of a medicated child with selective mutism versus a non-medicated child.

  4. I know someone who treated a child who developed selective mutism after immigrating to America from India. The child in question spoke English, but stopped speaking at all (in either English or his native language) when he started attending an American school. I'm curious as to the role language itself plays in this disorder... I wonder if there are more bilingual cases?