What is it?

Selective mutism refers to an anxiety disorder in which the person stops to speak in certain social situations. The disorder usually begins in childhood, and is more common in girls and those who have migrated from their birth country. When someone has selective mutism, he does not choose not to speak but rather he freezes due to the anxiety and stress and cannot speak. It is important to diagnose and treat this condition as soon as possible.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of selective mutism may include nervousness, awkwardness,eye contact avoidance, inability to speak in school or other specific social situations, using nonverbal communication, speaking easily in other situations such as home, acting shy, or being rude, being clingy, stiff or tense, having temper tantrums when getting back home.


The diagnosis is given usually by a mental health professional when the person does not speak in specific situations such as school but speaks normally in other situations, such as at home. It is diagnosed if it has been going on for longer than one month and interferes with their ability to function in that setting.


Treatment includes psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and for older children and adults medications may be given as well.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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