The Impact of Selective Mutism Disorder

1. 0 Introduction

Selective mutism disorder is a form of anxiety that results in a person being unable to speak in some social setting. It is more common in children but can persist into adulthood. There are different theories as to what causes this disorder, but the most likely cause is a combination of genetics and environment. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the key points related to selective mutism disorder.

2. 0 What is Selective Mutism Disorder?

Selective mutism disorder is an anxiety-based speaking disorder that can interfere with a person’s ability to communicate in certain social settings (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It is more common in children, but it can also persist into adulthood (Geller, 2009). The exact prevalence of this disorder is unknown, but it is estimated to be between 0.03% and 0.5% (Geller, 2009).

There are different signs and symptoms associated with selective mutism disorder. These can include, but are not limited to, avoiding eye contact, not responding when spoken to, being quiet in social situations, and appearing anxious or tense when around people (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In some cases, people with this disorder may be able to speak freely when they are alone or with certain people, but not with others (Geller, 2009).

2. 1 Genetics

The exact cause of selective mutism disorder is unknown, but there is evidence to suggest that it has a genetic component. Studies have shown that this disorder tends to run in families, which suggests that it may be hereditary (Geller, 2009). Additionally, research has shown that twins are more likely to both have this disorder than non-twin siblings, further supporting the role of genetics (Geller, 2009).

2. 2 Social Setting

Another possible cause of selective mutism disorder is the social setting. It has been suggested that this disorder may be caused by a child’s negative experiences in social situations, such as being teased or laughed at (Geller, 2009). Additionally, children who are shy or introverted may be more likely to develop this disorder (Geller, 2009).

2. 3 Environment

The environment may also play a role in the development of selective mutism disorder. It has been suggested that children who grow up in chaotic or stressful environments may be more likely to develop this disorder (Geller, 2009). Additionally, poor nutrition has been linked to this disorder (Geller, 2009). This may be due to the fact that children who are poorly nourished are more likely to experience anxiety and stress, which can trigger the development of this disorder.

3. 0 Implications and Conclusion

Selective mutism disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s life. It can interfere with their ability to communicate and interact with others, which can make everyday activities difficult. Additionally, this disorder can also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Early diagnosis and treatment is important for managing this disorder and preventing it from having a negative impact on a person’s life.


Selective mutism disorder is a condition in which people are unable to speak in certain social situations, even though they may be able to speak comfortably in other situations.

This condition can impact people in different ways, but some common effects include feeling anxious or stressed in social situations, having difficulty making friends, and struggling academically.

Some possible causes of selective mutism disorder include genetics, anxiety disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.

There are several treatments available for people with this condition, including behavior therapy, speech therapy, and medication.