Can You Develop a Stutter for No Reason?

Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2022
Can You Develop a Stutter for No Reason
In most cases, stuttering that occurs later in life is due to psychological or neurological stress

Although uncommon, adults can suddenly develop a stutter seemingly out of nowhere. 

In most cases, stuttering that occurs later in life is due to psychological or neurological stress. It can also be caused by brain damage, such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Studies report that drugs such as antidepressants can also cause adults to develop a stutter.

Stutter with no obvious cause is called idiopathic stutter. To identify the causes of stuttering, it is important to visit a medical specialist, as well as a speech-language pathologist.

What are different types of stutters?

Stuttering or stammering is a speech disorder that causes problems with natural fluency and flow of speech. The speech is repetitious and interrupted, and specific sounds and phrases lengthen. Individuals who stutter are aware of what they want to say; the difficulty is generating the actual sounds. 

There are three main types of stuttering problems:

  • Developmental stuttering
    • Occurs when a child is learning to talk between ages 2-6 but has hindered language development
    • The most common type of stuttering in children
  • Neurogenic stuttering
    • Caused by a disconnection between the brain, nerves, and muscles
    • May be due to a stroke or a brain injury 
  • Psychogenic stuttering
    • A rare type of stuttering that occurs after emotional trauma or when someone has difficulty thinking or reasoning
    • Can be caused by stress

When does stuttering usually start?

Stuttering is usually seen in children who are beginning to talk. The issue usually appears between ages 2-6, but about 75% children who stutter eventually outgrow it. 

Stuttering affects about 70 million individuals globally and about 3 million people in the United States, with the issue affecting boys 2-3 times more than girls. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, stuttering is most common in young children. However, it can appear in adulthood as well.

When does a stutter come out of nowhere?

  • Emotional stress: Someone who stammered as a child and got better after getting speech treatment and self-discipline may experience the problem again decades later due to anxiety or stress. Some of the problems that come with aging, such as financial worries and deteriorating health, may cause people to feel low emotionally, making it difficult to express themselves or find the right words.
  • Brain disorders: Seniors may begin to stutter due to neurogenic causes. For example, a stroke may have changed parts of the brain that control language processing and word formation. A concussion or other mental disorders may have been induced by a fall or a bump. Advanced dementias such as Alzheimer's can also make it difficult to form or arrange words.
  • Changes in medications: A stutter or unexpected changes in speaking patterns can be a side effect of some drugs, especially when older adults start taking them in larger doses.
  • Injuries: The inability to form words may be caused by injuries to the mouth, teeth, jaw, or gums. Other causes can include cysts, tumors, or other painful obstructions.


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Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2022
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