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Help If You Have Just Started Stammering

Are you an adult who has suddenly started to stammer? Find out how to get help.

Although stammering normally starts in early childhood, it can start in adults too.

If you have started stammering and don't know why, it can be a shock. Especially if you've spoken with ease all your life but now don't feel in control of your speech.

Everyday things like making phone calls and ordering coffees can become harder. So too can speaking to family members, friends and colleagues. You might feel a loss of identity as you grapple with your new pattern of speech.

If you're worried, the below might help you identify what has caused the stammering. We also explain how to get help.

If you want to chat about things, call our free helpline on 0808 802 0002. Or start a webchat or email 

Possible causes & help

Are you taking medication or other drugs?

Stammering can sometimes start as a side effect of taking medication or other drugs.

If you are taking a prescribed medicine and are experiencing changes in your speech, consult your doctor immediately. They may be able to prescribe a different medicine or adjust the dosage to reduce the side effects. 

Medication-related stammering will almost certainly disappear completely if you stop using the drug. However, it can be dangerous to stop taking medication. Especially if you stop suddenly.

This can be because of the way the body reacts to withdrawal of medication. Or it could be because of the loss of the associated health benefits. 

Seek medical advice before changing or stopping your medication.

Have you had a head injury or a medical diagnosis?

Sometimes stammering can start after a head injury, or with specific things like:

  • a stroke
  • a brain tumour
  • Parkinson's, or another degenerative disease
  • some forms of dementia.

These might change the structure of the brain, causing stammering. This is sometimes called 'neurological stammering' or 'neurogenic stammering'.

If you have started to stammer after one of these things, speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Have you experienced significant trauma?

It is rare, but sometimes stammering can start after: 

  • a severely traumatic event 
  • mental health difficulties
  • prolonged emotional stress over time.

Has stammering started following an experience like this? If so, it is likely to reduce when events or situations become less intense. Some people who stammer find practising Mindfulness helps.

If you want help, ask your GP about the range of psychological therapies available. If you live in England, you can refer yourself for NHS talking therapy. Alternatively, NHS counselling services are nationwide.

Some speech & language therapists also have advanced counselling skills. See Adults Stammering Therapy & Courses. It has details of NHS or private speech & language therapy services you can contact.

This is sometimes called 'functional stammering' or 'functional neurological stammering'. Or sometimes 'functional neurological disorder'.

If you don't know the reason

If you have started stammering and don't know why, speak to your GP as soon as possible. They can check for any of the conditions listed above. A GP might refer you to a specialist consultant and can help you seek support from a speech & language therapist.

Sometimes it's not possible to find out what has caused a stammer to start in adulthood. It might be the case that you stammered as young child and stopped, but don't remember it.

If stammering starts but the reason can't be identified, it is sometimes called 'idiopathic stammering'.

Read more about why stammering can start on our What Causes Stammering? page.

Other sources of support

Online support group

It can be really helpful to share your experiences with other people who stammer. There is an online group you can join called the Adults New To Stammering Support Group. As the name suggests, it's specifically for adults who have just started stammering. 

You can speak with and get advice from others who are going through the same thing.

Local groups

If you'd like to meet other people who stammer in person, see our Communities & Groups page. It has a list of all the groups meeting in person.

Member stories

You can also read about the experiences of some of our members below. They have written these articles about what it's like to start stammering all of a sudden:

"Six years ago, at the age of 68, I awoke one morning as a profoundly different person." Read Chris's story.

"Throughout my life, speaking had been my strength and indeed vital for my career. Now all the words were trapped inside my head and unable to come out." Read Hannah's story. 

"I had no idea what to do, who to speak to, or whether it was a real thing or not that was happening to me." Read Craig's story.


The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. 

Join the STAMMA community: become a member for free and we'll update you with our activities, including our STAMMAFest conference. It's a really good place to meet others who stammer.

What next?

Get involved with the STAMMA community. Find an event, fundraise, share your story, volunteer, take part in research and more.

Donate & make a difference

Creating this page was only possible thanks to your kind donations. 

Please consider making a donation to STAMMA: click here. You'll be helping us to: 

  • keep our support services running for people who stammer and worried parents 
  • put on workshops and support groups
  • stage events to bring people together
  • create guides for teachers and employers 
  • create our award-winning campaigns for change. 

Thank you.

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