The construct of alexithymia, although most easily understood as a lack of words for feelings, also encompasses an external orientation, a poor imagination, and difficulty regulating emotions. Research has shown that these deficits are correlated with different patterns of brain activity during emotion perception, identification, and regulation, as compared to nonalexithymics. This inability to process emotions can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health; alexithymia is considered a risk factor for diseases that are worsened by poor emotion regulation and it is associated with poor life satisfaction and well-being. The precise cause of alexithymia is unknown, but behavioral therapy appears to be an effective treatment. Although considerable progress has been made in developing the construct of alexithymia, there are still unanswered questions that require further research to develop a complete understanding of the construct.
The Construct of Alexithymia: A Thorough Definition,
Potential Causes, and Treatment Options The term alexithymia was first used as a way to describe the inability of psychosomatic patients to express their emotions, and literally translates to ‘a lack of words for feelings’. It was first assessed in a hospital setting, with psychosomatic patients being the group of interest and non-psychosomatic patients serving as a control group. Although alexithymia was significantly more prevalent in the