Clang Association: Signs and Examples

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Clang Association: Signs and Examples

Clang association refers to the use of words in the speech that sound similar but have no similar meaning or connection. Also called loose associations, people who use clang associations may use words that sound similar or that rhyme when they talk. Clanging speech or clang associations are most common among people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This fragmented, disconnected, and illogical nature of speech is referred to as disorganized thinking and is a sign of acute psychosis during manic and depressive episodes and also indicative of thought disorders. 

What Is Clang Association?

The word “clang” is associated with sounds, such as the ringing of bells or claps of thunder. In contrast, speech involves the production of sounds and words to communicate thoughts and ideas. 

A person who speaks using clang associations will use actual words, but their choice of wording is based on sound rather than how it makes sense in the conversation. So while clang associations are made up of real words, these words usually only sound the same and have no real connection to each other. 

These rhyming words usually don’t convey any specific idea or follow a clear train of thought. Therefore, the definition of clang associations is words based on sound rather than logical communication. 

People with mood or thought disorders may exhibit various symptoms and traits. Clang association, or the loosening of associations, is a form of disorganized thinking and communication that’s common among people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

Clang association is a key indicator of disorganized thought. Instead of a person’s speech and thoughts being directed based on their meaning, in clang association, the person’s thinking and speech are directed by the sound of words. 

In this case, the person may associate words based on how they rhyme and or incorporate puns. Common clang association examples include:

  • “I wrote the goat overload boat my float tote.”
  • “He rained the train brain grain strain the crane.”
  • “On my way to the store bore some more chore.”

While the rhyming in clang association may have a similar cadence to rap songs, clang association is usually inappropriate for the situation and interferes with the person’s ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings. 

Clang Association & Bipolar Disorder 

Cognitive dysfunction and disorganized speech are major components of serious mental health disorders, as well as symptoms like changes in thinking, memory, motivation, perception, and language. Thought disorder, a condition in which thoughts and conversation seem to be illogical and disconnected, is a key contributor to cognitive dysfunction.

While bipolar disorder is recognized as a mood disorder with shifts in high and low moods, the thought disorder is also believed to be a symptom. Thought disorder often occurs during manic episodes of bipolar disorder, which causes increased energy and hyperactivity. 

Some thought disorder symptoms include racing thoughts, difficulty finding the right words to use, attention and memory problems, and rapid thought processes. This acceleration of thought is what makes it difficult for a person with bipolar disorder to focus on specific thoughts and ideas. 

Within a few minutes, this person may lose any sort of clarity and awareness of their thoughts during these episodes. Not only can this impact the way someone communicates, but it also affects their ability to respond appropriately to certain situations. 

During an acute manic episode of bipolar disorder, clang association may occur as the person is trying to communicate but doesn’t make sense. The person may also speak in jumbled words or phrases, may exhibit speech that continuously changes in direction, and uses made-up words.

Clang Associations & Schizophrenia

Clang association was originally associated with schizophrenia, which is a mental disorder associated with psychotic symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorders. As previously mentioned, a thought disorder can impact a person’s thoughts, speech, and ability to communicate in schizophrenia. 

Clang association in schizophrenia may occur during acute psychosis, in which the person may display several symptoms related to thought disorder, such as: 

  • Brief responses (poverty of speech)
  • Loud, fast-paced speech that’s difficult to interrupt (pressure of speech)
  • Spontaneous speech that rapidly changes topics (loosening of associations)
  • Lack of coherence and sentence structure (schizophasia)
  • Using made-up words (neologism)
  • Repeating someone else’s words or phrases during a conversation (echolalia)
  • Speech is controlled by the sounds of words rather than their meaning (clang association)

Changes in language and speech are common in people with schizophrenia, and clang association is just one of the various thought disorder-related symptoms that can occur during acute psychosis. Although not all people with schizophrenia experience impaired speech and language, many do experience clang association and the other abnormalities listed above. 

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder & Schizophrenia

Since clang associations are symptoms of thought disorder and are common in people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, individuals with these conditions should find disorder-specific programs that can help them manage their symptoms. In other words, the best way to treat clang association is to treat the disorder that’s causing it. 

BHOPB offers various mental health treatment programs in Palm Beach that provide therapy in individual and group settings to help patients understand their conditions and learn how to cope with their symptoms. Patients receiving mental health care at our rehab facility will also have the opportunity to engage with others in the recovery community and learn from their experiences. 

From bipolar disorder treatment to therapy options for spouses and family members of patients, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches provides all the mental health recovery resources you’ll need to manage your mental illness and achieve the life you want. 

For more information about our mental health and addiction treatment programs in Palm Beach, call BHOPB today at 561-220-3981.


Related Reading:

Is Bipolar Disorder Hereditary?
Inaccurate Movies About Mental Illness


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