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Pressured Speech: What It Is and How to Treat It

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on August 28, 2020

Pressured speech is when you talk faster than usual. You may feel like you can’t stop.

It's different than talking fast because you’re excited or you naturally speak that way. You might jump from one idea to the next. People could have trouble following the conversation.

Pressured speech is often a sign of mania or hypomania. That’s when your energy level or mood is very high. It’s linked to bipolar disorder. Here’s what you need to know.

Symptoms

When you have pressured speech, you may:

  • Talk quickly
  • Talk more
  • Feel like you can’t control your talking
  • Keep talking when people aren’t paying attention to you
  • Not let people interrupt or stop you

Why It Happens

You may do it if you have bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder.

Mania changes how you think and act. During an episode, you have a lot of energy and changes in mood. Your mind races. This is where the constant stream of thoughts you may want to share can come from.

Hypomania has many of the same symptoms as mania, but they aren’t as severe. You can still do the things you usually do, like go to work or school. The episodes are shorter and last about 4 days in a row.

Other Causes

Bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder aren’t the only reasons for pressured speech. You may do it or something similar if you have:

Using illegal drugs could also lead to pressured speech.

How It’s Treated

Your doctor may prescribe antipsychotic medication or other drugs that calm you down and ease symptoms. They might also suggest antidepressants or other drugs for anxiety.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or talk therapy, may help you better understand your thoughts and manage them. Working with a speech-language pathologist could also help.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: “Autism Spectrum Disorder: Communication Problems in Children.”

Mayo Clinic: “Schizophrenia,” “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children,” “Schizoaffective disorder.”

Rethink Mental Illness: “Anxiety Disorders.”

National Health Service (U.K.): “Psychosis.”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “Facts About Mood Stabilizers.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Schizoaffective Disorder,” “Schizophrenia.”

UpToDate: “Bipolar mania and hypomania in adults: Choosing pharmacotherapy,” “Unipolar depression in adults: Assessment and diagnosis.”

Mental Health America: “What is Mania?”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Signs of Cocaine Use.”

American Psychiatric Association: “What Are Bipolar Disorders?”

Autism Speaks: “Autism and bipolar disorder: Is there a connection?”

Indian Health Service: “ADHD vs BPAD.”

American Psychological Association: “flight of ideas,” “pressured speech.”

National Institute of Mental Health: “Bipolar Disorder.”

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