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Word Recall Problems & Word Retrieval Strategies

Updated on August 14, 2012

Word Recall Problems - Strategies for Coping

All my life, I've had more trouble recalling words than the average joe. Word retrieval was always been a little difficult for me. As a child, I remember calling downstairs to my Mom, asking her "What's that word....?"

Fortunately for me, my problem is not severe enough to be classified as "Anomic aphasia."

I'm sure that everyone has had the experience that the word is on the tip of your tongue but that you can't recall it. Here's my tips on how to increase word retrieval speed...

Photo Pictured Above: Neuron Glia interaction

Word Retrieval Strategies - Coping Techniques I use to Remember Words

  1. I have found that if I start to ask someone else what the word is that most of the time the attempt to describe the word I'm looking for causes me to remember it. Now, instead of asking out loud for help, I ask the question silently..... I talk to myself (either in my own head or as a whisper) and this often retrieves the word.
  2. Another thing I do is I try to picture the object or something associated with it. Visual imagery uses a different part of the brain and this sometimes helps with recall.
  3. If I can't think of the word, I think of a synonym. Even if I still can not remember the word, the synonym usually works.
  4. I use a search engine to type in related terms to try to retrieve the word. Often as I start to type related words into the search engine, I am able to remember the word.
  5. If I am having a conversation, rather than trying to remember the word, I may ask a question that elicits a response that includes the word. This is particularly useful when having problems remembering people's names or places. For example, I might ask, "Who was at the party?"

Can Medications Help with Word Recall Problems?

Piracetam is a nootropic drug that increases blood flow and oxygen consumption in parts of the brain. In Europe, it is a medication prescribed after stroke to help with cognitive problems and aphasia. Here's the wikipedia article on it.

Planetary Herbals Ginseng Revitalizer, 964 mg, Tablets, 180 tablets
Planetary Herbals Ginseng Revitalizer, 964 mg, Tablets, 180 tablets

I also find that this Ginseng supplement helps... I have no reason as to why, but it makes a noticeable difference.

For both of these supplements, my "test" is watching the TV show Jeopardy. I have fewer moments of "I know the answer but can't retrieve it." I am able to answer more questions correctly. I can't recall what I don't know, but when I do know an answer, I'm able to retrieve it!

 

Do you have word retrieval problems? - If so, what are your coping strategies?

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