Alexithymia as a Core Trait in Psychosomatic and Other Psychological Disorders
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Place of publicationCham
SourceSomatoform and Other Psychosomatic Disorders: A Dialogue Between Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Perspectives
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Somatoform and psychosomatic disorder symptoms show strong correlations with alexithymia, a trait believed to constitute a general risk factor for psychopathology and physical health problems. Difficulties stemming from alexithymia, such as difficulty describing and identifying emotions, may explain to a large degree the fact that individuals with these symptom categories seem to misinterpret emotion-related physiological arousal as a sign of illness-related symptoms. Based on findings from our lab described in this chapter, alexithymia appears to present with deficits during processing and regulation of emotional situations, primarily characterized by physiological hyporeactivity, an avoidant emotion regulation style, and difficulty adjusting to the shifting demands of the environment.