“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Difficulty speaking, talking, co-ordination problems with mouth or tongue

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 3, 2019

Difficulty speaking, talking, moving mouth or tongue:

This anxiety symptom is characterized as experiencing difficulty or unusual awkwardness speaking; pronouncing words, syllables, or vowels; moving the mouth, lips, or tongue; or being very self-conscious of problems talking or speaking.

This symptom is also often described as ‘slurred speech.’

This difficulty speaking, talking, moving mouth or tongue symptom can occur rarely, frequently, or persistently, and can be barely noticeable, mildly limiting, or very restrictive.

For some people, this symptom can be mildly irritating, limiting, and sporadic. For others, it can be greatly debilitating, very restrictive, and persistent.

All variations and combinations are common.

Why does anxiety cause difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue?

Coordination and thinking problems commonly occur when the body becomes abnormally stressed. Since behaving anxiously stresses the body, anxiety can cause co-ordination and thinking problems, which can cause difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue.

We explain the physiological aspects of why the body can have difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue when overly stressed in the Recovery Support area of our website. Suffice to say, since this symptom is caused by stress only, it needn't be a cause for concern or worry. This symptom diminishes as the body's stress diminishes. As the body returns to a normal and healthy level of stress, difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue problems disappear and normal functioning returns.

Again, while disconcerting, these types of symptoms are harmless and fully disappear when the body returns to normal health.

Many of those who struggle with anxiety worry that MS, ALS, a brain tumor, or other neurological condition may be the cause of their symptoms. Checking on the Internet may cause more anxiety, since co-ordination problems are common symptoms of these medical conditions.

And since there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, such as this symptom, you should discuss all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue symptoms to stress and anxiety, however, you can feel confident that nothing more serious is causing them. Most doctors can easily spot the difference between stress and anxiety-caused symptoms from those caused by a medical condition, since medical conditions have unique symptoms unlike that of stress and anxiety. Seeing your doctor may help reduce unnecessary worry.

For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

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Additional Resources:

Return to our anxiety symptoms page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom difficulty speaking, talking, and/or moving your mouth or tongue.