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Overview

Circumstantial speech is also known as circumstantiality. It occurs because of a thought pattern that is non-linear. Circumstantial speech takes place when there are drifts in the focus of the conversation. However, the conversation usually returns to the focus point.

Individuals who engage in circumstantiality in conversations use a lot of words and sentences to explain their point. Circumstantial speech is, therefore, different from linear speech that is direct and focuses on the point.

Circumstantial, tangential, and incoherent speech

There is a clear difference between circumstantial and tangential speech. In tangential speech, the speaker drifts and does not return to the focus point of discussion. Tangential thought is less focused than incoherent thought. This is because the ideas in incoherent thought are not clearly understood.

Examples of circumstantiality

Circumstantial speech can be experienced when asking about the age of a person. A speaker can communicate their age by providing a lot of information; for example, place of birth, schools attended, career, and place of residence. The speaker provides this general information before eventually stating his or her age.

Symptoms and treatment of circumstantial speech

An individual who suffers from circumstantiality experiences slow thinking. Hence, he or she provides irrelevant information. Getting appropriate information from people with circumstantiality is challenging because they provide long and trivial details during the communication process.

Obtaining details from people who have circumstantial thought is difficult because they cannot focus on the main communication points. However, in most cases the relevant information is eventually realized at the later stages of the conversation.

Circumstantial disorder is mostly associated with people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder or schizophrenia. The condition can be treated using behavioral modification method and antidepressant medication. Other forms of treatment are anxiolytics and anticonvulsants.

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