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Alexithymia and its relationship to dissociation in patients with panic disorder


Majohr, K L; Leenen, K; Grabe, H J; Jenewein, J; Garcia Nuñez, D; Rufer, M (2011). Alexithymia and its relationship to dissociation in patients with panic disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199(10):773-777.

Abstract

Conditions that impede the regulation of emotional arousal, such as alexithymia and dissociation, may underlie panic attacks. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between alexithymia and dissociation in patients with panic disorder (PD). We assessed 95 PD outpatients with regard to alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale), dissociation (Dissociation Experience Scale), and overall psychological distress (Symptom Checklist 90-Revised, Global Severity Index). Regression analyses revealed a positive correlation between alexithymia and dissociation, even when the Global Severity Index was controlled for. A specific link was observed between "difficulty in identifying feelings" and "depersonalization/derealization." Patients who showed the pathological form of dissociation had higher levels of alexithymia, with particular regard to "difficulty in identifying feelings" and, to a smaller extent, "difficulty in describing feelings." These results support a strong relationship between alexithymia and dissociation in patients with PD. Assessing alexithymia and dissociation at the outset of therapy may be helpful for individualized therapy planning.

Conditions that impede the regulation of emotional arousal, such as alexithymia and dissociation, may underlie panic attacks. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between alexithymia and dissociation in patients with panic disorder (PD). We assessed 95 PD outpatients with regard to alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale), dissociation (Dissociation Experience Scale), and overall psychological distress (Symptom Checklist 90-Revised, Global Severity Index). Regression analyses revealed a positive correlation between alexithymia and dissociation, even when the Global Severity Index was controlled for. A specific link was observed between "difficulty in identifying feelings" and "depersonalization/derealization." Patients who showed the pathological form of dissociation had higher levels of alexithymia, with particular regard to "difficulty in identifying feelings" and, to a smaller extent, "difficulty in describing feelings." These results support a strong relationship between alexithymia and dissociation in patients with PD. Assessing alexithymia and dissociation at the outset of therapy may be helpful for individualized therapy planning.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:11 Jan 2012 20:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:22
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0022-3018
Publisher DOI:10.1097/NMD.0b013e31822fcbfb
PubMed ID:21964271
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-55021

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