Circumstantial speech (also referred to as circumstantiality) is a communication disorder in which the focus of a conversation drifts, but often comes back to the point. In circumstantiality, unnecessary details and irrelevant remarks cause a delay in getting to the point.
A person afflicted with circumstantiality has slowed thinking and invariably talks at length about irrelevant and trivial details (i.e. circumstances). Eliciting information from such a person can be difficult since circumstantiality makes it hard for the individual to stay on topic. In most instances however, the relevant details are eventually achieved.
The disorder is often associated with schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
An example of circumstantial speech is that when asked about the age of a person's mother at death, the speaker responds by talking at length about accidents and how too many people die in accidents, then eventually says what the mother's age was at death.
Similarly, a patient afflicted with this condition, for example, when asked about a certain recipe, could give minute details about going to the grocery store, the shopping experience, people there, and so on.
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