Alexithymia is a lack of emotions. It is not a mental health disorder but it can depend on the mental health conditions. Alexithymia is conceptualized both as in effect –deficit disorder and continues the personality variables. Alexithymia cannot handle their relationships and sometimes they are introverted they are co-occurring mental health e.g. depression, no diagnosable mental health conditions. Alexithymia is also like autism (difficulties with social interaction and communities).  

An alexithymic person cannot express their feelings and emotions. 13% of the population faces alexithymia in which a large number of prisoners experience approximately 30%.

In the 1970s, Peter Sifneos Psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school discover Alexithymia. Alexithymia is derived from Greek words “a” meaning “LACKlexis meanings “WORDS” and thymus meanings “EMOTIONS” so it means “lack of words /emotions”.

 Alexithymia is not a diagnosis, but a construct useful for characterizing patients who seem to lack the words to describe these feelings to others. Identifying this deficit in expressivity is important because doing so gives the clinician a therapeutic course.

State alexithymia ha a specific is often a temporary condition post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by expressing a horrifying event, is one example that is known to trigger this type of alexithymia. Trait alexithymia is believed to be a characteristic inheritance in a person’s personality. If I give reference to the story.

There was a boy (Jack) who was brought up by his father (Oliver). Both of them had alexithymia. Jack got this genetically by his father. Oliver (his father) was a prisoner from his childhood. He brought up in a bad environment. Once he escaped from prison he started to stab people, he got married to a girl (Amelia) forcibly. When he has a child Jack (the young boy ). He also made his Amelia and jack prisoner. As Jack also had alexithymia he didn’t have any emotions but Amelia (his mother) helped him to recognize emotions with the help of lexicon words. She taught him he should not be a giant like his father.

He was alarmed by this that he is like his father, he tried to get rid of this fear. Both mother and son tried harsh to escape from prison, once they succeed. Jack meet with new people, a new environment and after challenging many problems and after facing them he started to observed pain and emotions by those lexicon words. In the end, he was able to feel emotion, now he was satisfied he is not a monster/giant like his father (Oliver).

Causes: 

  • Genetics. Research on twins indicates that there is a genetic component to alexithymia. People are more likely to have alexithymia if a close relative also has it.
  • Environmental factors. The same twin study also indicates that environmental factor plays a role in alexithymia. Examples of environmental factors include a history of childhood trauma, the presence of physical or mental health conditions, or socioeconomic factors.
  • Brain injury. Research reports that people with injury to a part of the brain known as the anterior insular Experian increased levels of alexithymia.

Diagnosis:

Alexithymia is not a mental disorder, so the doctor and mental health professionals cannot 

Formally diagnose the phenomenon. However, there are questionnaires and scales that professionals can use to check for signs of alexithymia. These includes 

  • A person’s ability to identify feelings and to separate these from physical sensations
  • Their ability to communicate feelings to other people
  • Their inclination to show the externally oriented thinking (rather than an introspective thinking style)
  • Problems distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations that relate to those emotions
  • A lack of fantasies and imagination
  • Poor coping skills when it comes to dealing with stress
  • Behaving less altruistically than others

Effects on the environment. Patients of alexithymia, some time they are good and sometimes they are bad for the environment. They started harming the environment. We can take the reference from the previous story but the question arises, HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM?

By applying the law of nature like -like repel each other, according to this principle our behaviour should not be the same. We have to behave differently with them, causes dislike-dislike attracts each other. So, behave positively with alexithymic they are negatives for society.

Submitted by “Humaira Bashir”