Spasmodic Dysphonia

(SD; Adductor Laryngeal Breathing Dystonia (ABLD); Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia; Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia; Dysphonia, Episodic Laryngeal Dyskinesia; Laryngeal Dystonia; Spastic Dysphonia)


Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder. The muscles of the throat freeze or go into spasms. Words are strangled and strained or they don’t get out at all. Sounds are also distorted.The main types of SD include:
  • Adductor spasmodic dysphonia—spasms cause muscles to stiffen and close
  • Abductor spasmodic dysphonia—spasms cause muscles to spastically open
  • Mixed spasmodic dysphonia
Spasmodic dysphonia affects the throat muscles.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Often, the exact cause of SD is unknown. It is a disorder of the central nervous system. The areas of the brain that control these muscle movements are deep within the brain.

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in women and people who are between 30 and 50 years of age.Factors that may increase your chance of developing SD include:
  • Degenerative brain diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Another movement disorder such as tardive dyskinesia
  • Family history of SD—In some families, a gene on chromosome 9 may be connected to SD.
  • Brain infection such as encephalitis
  • Exposure to toxins or certain medications such as phenothiazines


Symptoms of SD include:
  • Squeaky, strained speech
  • No speech at all
  • Speech with the wrong pitch and tone
  • Breaks in speech
  • Breathy voice

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