What is Perseveration?

Perseveration is the repetition of an action, word, or behavior with associated emotions. Perseveration can take the form of word salad, echolalia (repeating voices heard from others), and stickiness. Imitating or parroting the behavior of others, being stuck with a person, speech, or emotion are characteristics of perseveration.

Perseveration may develop in damage to the frontal lobe in the anterior part of the brain and in some types of dementia. If perseveration is not noticed in the person, this persistent repetitive behavior can cause irritability or irritability in other people. Because in perseveration, it is not possible to stop the patient with logic and request. Even if the patient encounters negative consequences, he cannot give up his behavior. For this reason, it is important for the people around him to know that the patient cannot stop this behavior.

Perseveration Behaviors

  • The person gets stuck on a certain action, emotion, behavior, or discussion topic.
  • It reverts to the particular behavior, movement, and emotion that it is stuck on. Even if a different subject is discussed, he continues the subject of discussion.
  • He makes a word salad, that is, he uses more words than necessary.
  • Attaches to other people.
  • Repeats what other people say.

For example, one can only talk about music in any situation. He may unconsciously write a certain letter with an extra curl. When asked to name colors, he can be stuck on a specific word such as red, although there are other colors. He may repeat the same method over and over to solve a problem, even though he knows it doesn’t work. An event may become angry or upset for longer than expected. He may be stuck in the behavior of checking himself for mistakes, unable to go any further.

Read More  Speech Disorder Treatment After Brain Injury

Perseveration can be likened to the way a song gets stuck in our language and we remember it for hours or days even though we no longer want to sing it. People who suffer from perseveration due to brain damage experience this state for thoughts, words, actions, or emotions. Therefore, their daily life can be quite restricted.


Cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy with people with similar problems, and drug therapy options are available. Medication may be recommended if it is thought to be associated with anxiety.

People with perseveration may not be able to stop themselves. People around him need to maintain a calm and supportive attitude. Getting angry causes anxiety and only makes things worse. Changing the topic or moving to a different job can be an effective strategy. Moving from speech to activity and vice versa can also be helpful. Thus, they can get away from the thought, speech or behavior they are stuck with. If certain topics or tasks have been observed to trigger perseveration, it may be appropriate to avoid them.

Like many problems caused by brain damage, making the right lifestyle choices is helpful in dealing with perseveration . Examples include sleeping well, exercising regularly, avoiding or limiting alcohol intake, eating healthy, learning stress management techniques, and maintaining contact with family and friends.

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