We`ve all come across people who demand our attention and dominate conversations without letting anyone else have their say. In a well-mannered society, listeners often find it difficult to extricate themselves gracefully from these draining monologues. There are reasons beyond plain ego why people talk incessantly.
Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a common condition characterised by alternating bouts of depression and upward mood swings. According to the Davidson College Biology Department, manic episodes include symptoms of inflated self-esteem that can manifest as the need to impart knowledge through incessant talking.
According to Dr. Edward M. Hallowell's book "Driven to Distraction", Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects adults as well as children. People who have the condition tend to live their lives in extremes, one of which is incessant talking. Constant interrupting, blurting things out and talking about instead of performing an organised task are also indicators of ADHD.
As noted in the "Handbook on Bereavement", the anxiety and trauma of loss stimulates some people into talking incessantly about the incident and events that surround it. For many people, talking about the occurrence can be therapeutic. The incessant talking usually ceases as the shock wears off and they adapt to a newer lifestyle, focusing on fresher daily activities. However, there are those who cling to the life-changing incident, repeating the story to whomever will lend an ear. In this case, their depression, anxiety and anger continue.
A study done at Brandeis University notes that outbursts of anger, crying, increased or decreased activity, problems concentrating, memory loss and incessant talking can all be signs of emotional stress. Students who exhibit these behaviours may be having problems with their studies, their roommates, intimate relationships, dealing with illnesses of themselves or family members, or a host of other reasons.
Loneliness and insecurity sometimes cause people to talk incessantly. There are those who have incorporated incessant talking into their routine behaviour, believing that if they stop talking the listener will go away. They constantly think ahead, heedless of responses from their listeners, to avoid lulls in the conversation. These incessant talkers can learn to be better conversationalists with increased self-confidence and a boost in self-esteem.
The Human Environmental Sciences Extension of the University of Missouri points out that the use of the highly addictive drug methamphetamine causes disturbing symptoms such as extreme moodiness, irritability, repetitive physical behaviours and incessant talking. It can be difficult to extricate oneself from the tirade of methamphetamine users because of their aggressive, overconfident demeanour.
- "Handbook on Bereavement"; Edited by Stroebe, Schut, & Stroebe; 2000
- "Driven to Distraction"; by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell; 1995
- Brandeis University; Psychological Counseling Center: Signs of Student Distress
- University of Missouri Extension; Human Environmental Sciences Extension: Questions and Answers about Methamphetamine
- Davidson College Biology Department: Common Mental Disorders