Selective Mutism in Adults: A Case Study

Sayer M. C., HOCAOĞLU Ç.

Neuropsychiatric Investigation, vol.61, no.4, pp.122-124, 2023 (Scopus) identifier


Selective mutism (SM) is a childhood behavioral disorder characterized by the inability to speak in one or more situations despite speaking in other situations. Selective mutism is included under anxiety disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Many studies have demonstrated the relationship between severe social anxiety and the extreme reluctance or inability to speak in people with SM. These cases are often diagnosed through research in school-going children; data on adult periods are very limited. Symptoms related to social anxiety are also frequently observed in the families of children with SM. This situation is remarkable in terms of the genetic aspect of psychiatry. Adult patients with SM are often hidden among the symptoms of psychotic disorders. It can be recognized with a more detailed anamnesis of the patients, especially with their childhood history. In this study, a case who was treated with a diagnosis of psychotic disorder for many years and was found to have a diagnosis of SM during follow-up is presented in the light of literature findings. Our study may raise awareness in terms of drawing attention to the issue of SM, which is overlooked in childhood and hidden among other psychotic disorders in adulthood.