Special Issue "The Biopsychosocial Facets of Alexihymia and Its Role in Psychiatric, Psychosomatic, and Medical Illnesses"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessandro Valchera
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Villa S. Giuseppe Hospital, Hermanas Hospitalarias, 63100 Ascoli Piceno, Italy; Polyedra Research Group, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: substance abuse; bipolar disorder; alexithymia; somatic complaints; mind–body connection; elderly; psychosomatics
Dr. Federica Vellante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ITAB Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technologies, University "G. d'Annunzio", Via Luigi Polacchi 11, 66100, Chieti, Italy; Polyedra Research Group, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: neuroimaging; alexithymia; PTSD; affective disorders; eating disorders; schizophrenia; neurobiology; psychotherapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Alexithymia is a personality trait in which the individual is unable to identify and describe their own emotions. The main feature of alexithymia is an emotional unawareness, lack of social attachment, and poor interpersonal relation. Furthermore, those suffering from alexithymia have difficulty recognizing and understanding the emotions of others.

Alexithymia means there are:

  1. Difficulties identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and bodily sensations.
  2. Difficulties describing feelings to other people.
  3. Reduced daydreaming and limited imagination and, therefore, little or no fantasies and limited dreams with a concrete style of thinking.
  4. A reduced empathy or ability to communicate inner states to others.

It has been demonstrated in several studies that often alexithymic individuals may show significantly higher levels of psychological distress than non-alexithymics and may develop “functional” somatic symptoms and psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Moreover, it has been suggested that alexithymic subjects may scarcely respond to both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. The characteristic attributes of alexithymic behavior are predominantly manifest in social interactions with high emotional significance. The affect-avoiding interpersonal pattern behavior showed by such subjects is often maladaptive and may elicit disorders and conflicts in important relationships, finally contributing the risk of the development of psychiatric symptoms such as depression or anxiety, thus increasing the risk of suicide.

Moreover, it has been demonstrated that alexithymia should be considered as a relatively stable personality trait, enhancing vulnerability to psychiatric symptoms, and is generally associated with higher risk of death for several causes (accidents, injury, or violence).

There is increasing evidence that alexithymia may be considered a risk factor for suicide, even simply increasing the risk of the development of depressive symptoms per se. This evidence comes from the results of several studies conducted on both the general population and clinical samples of patients with psychiatric disorders or medical conditions.

Therefore, the aim of the present Issue is to give an update on biopsychosocial aspects of alexithymia concerning several points of view (neurobiological, structural, functional, psychological aspects, etc.). Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome, as well as reviews, mini-reviews, interesting case-reports, and commentaries. All areas concerning alexithymia may be welcomed, from neurobiological and imaging findings to psychopathological and psychological issues. In addition, review papers or original studies on psychosomatic diseases and somatic symptoms would be of great interest.

Prof. Domenico De Berardis
Dr. Alessandro Valchera
Dr. Federica Vellante
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • alexithymia
  • psychosomatics
  • emotions
  • affective dysregulation
  • suicide
  • substance abuse
  • anxiety
  • psychosis
  • mood disorders
  • mind–body connection
  • neurobiology and neuroimaging

Published Papers (3 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Alexithymia Is Associated with Reduced Quality of Life and Increased Caregiver Burden in Parkinson’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 401; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060401 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease of people who are beyond 50 years of age. People with PD (PwP) suffer from a large variety of motor and non-motor symptoms resulting in reduced health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). In the [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease of people who are beyond 50 years of age. People with PD (PwP) suffer from a large variety of motor and non-motor symptoms resulting in reduced health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). In the last two decades, alexithymia was identified as an additional non-motor symptom in PD. Alexithymia is defined as a cognitive affective disturbance resulting in difficulty to identify and distinguish feelings from bodily sensations of emotional arousal. In PD, the frequency of patients suffering of alexithymia is increased compared to healthy controls. The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship of alexithymia to HR-QoL of the PwP and caregiver burden of the corresponding caregiver. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study used disease specific questionnaires for HR-QoL and caregiver burden. In total 119 PwP and their corresponding caregivers were included in the study. HR-QoL of the PwP correlated significantly with alexithymia (p < 0.001), especially the sub-components “identifying feelings” (p < 0.001) and “difficulties describing feelings” (p = 0.001). Caregiver burden also correlated significantly with PwP alexithymia (p < 0.001). However, caregiver burden was associated with sub-components “identifying feelings” (p < 0.008) and “external oriented thinking” (p < 0.004). These data support the importance of alexithymia as a non-motor symptom in PD. Full article
Article
Spanish Validation of the Child and Adolescent Perfectionism Scale: Factorial Invariance and Latent Means Differences across Sex and Age
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 310; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9110310 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1075
Abstract
The present study analyzed the psychometric properties of a Spanish translation of the child–adolescent perfectionism scale (CAPS-S), as well as its factorial invariance and latent means differences across sex and age. A sample of 1809 Spanish students of Primary Education, aged between 8 [...] Read more.
The present study analyzed the psychometric properties of a Spanish translation of the child–adolescent perfectionism scale (CAPS-S), as well as its factorial invariance and latent means differences across sex and age. A sample of 1809 Spanish students of Primary Education, aged between 8 and 11 (Mage = 9.53, SD = 1.11), was used. Confirmatory factor analyses and multigroup confirmatory factor analyses were applied to examine the factor structure of the CAPS-S. The results revealed that a model made up of 13 items structured in 3 factors—Self-Oriented Perfectionism-Striving (SOP-Striving), Self-Oriented Perfectionism-Critical (SOP-Critical), and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism (SPP)—showed a better fit than any of the previously tested models, and it was invariant across sex and age. SOP-Striving did not significantly correlate with school anxiety and aggression, whereas significant and positive correlations were found in the case of SOP-Critical and SPP. The levels of reliability and stability of the scale were ω = 0.91, 0.74, 0.73, and 0.80, and rxx = 0.73, 0.62, 0.73, and 0.74, for the total CAPS-S and for the SOP-Striving, SOP-Critical, and SPP dimensions, respectively. Analysis of latent means differences revealed that boys scored significantly higher than girls in SOP-Critical. The 9-year-olds scored significantly lower in SPP than their 8-year-old peers. Conversely, 11-year-olds scored higher in SOP-Critical than 8-year-olds. In addition, 10- and 11-year-olds scored higher than their 9-year-old peers. The CAPS-S presented in this research is a reliable and valid instrument to assess perfectionism in Spanish child population. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Gambling Problems and Alexithymia: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(8), 191; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9080191 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
Among the factors that are thought to underlie gambling problems, alexithymia has been recognized to contribute to their development. For the first time, we reviewed the literature on the relationship between alexithymia and gambling. A systematic search of literature was run in the [...] Read more.
Among the factors that are thought to underlie gambling problems, alexithymia has been recognized to contribute to their development. For the first time, we reviewed the literature on the relationship between alexithymia and gambling. A systematic search of literature was run in the major reference databases including PubMed, Cochrane Database for Systematic Review, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Scopus until April 2019. The search produced 182 articles that produced 20 papers included in the review. Fourteen studies were conducted with community samples of pathological gamblers while six studies with clinical samples of disordered gamblers. All studies assessed alexithymia with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale while gambling problems were assessed mostly with the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Alexithymic features were significantly more prevalent in pathological gamblers both at the community and clinical levels, increased symptom severity, and showed interactive mechanisms with personality, psychiatric, and cognitive factors. Alexithymia is likely to associate with gambling as a coping behavior to increase emotional arousal and avoid negative emotions, according to the affect dysregulation model. Further studies are needed to widen the knowledge on this association. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop