Echolalia causes a person to repeat vocalizations he or she hears from another person, including mimicking noises, words, or entire phrases. In many cases, the person is unaware that they are repeating things. While most people view echolalia as an inability to communicate, research shows the symptoms have many underlying meanings and behaviors. The mimicking is often an attempt to communicate, though the condition may make social interaction difficult.
The primary symptom of echolalia is automatic and unconscious mimicking. Other effects include frustration during conversations, stemming from an inability to communicate effectively. This can lead to depression and anxiety. In some cases, a person with echolalia may eventually stop speaking entirely because of the difficulty they face communicating in social situations.
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