Monday, April 06, 2015

Alexithymia > Health and Wellness.

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In 1972 Professor of Psiquiatría Peter Sifneos introduces the term 'alexithymia' ('a' - no, 'lexis' - word-, 'thimos' - affection-) to refer to a disorder that prevents the person to detect their own emotions and therefore give a name to express them verbally. Therefore, that alexitimicas people are unable to recognise and put a name to their emotions.
It is an important interference in the daily life of the patient, hampering him enormously interpersonal relationships, since the people who surround you hardly are informed by how their actions influence the alexitimico (for example are unable to express enthusiasm at good news). Therefore, that often seem cold and too pragmatic people.
Joins all the important level of emotional distress which accompanies the alexithymia and the patient not known to define, what more difficult you enormously regulate emotion.
The alexithymia can be present in different types of pathologies, being especially prevalent in the pervasive developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders. In most cases, the alexitima responds to biological factors such as neurological deficits, although it can also be a result of the exposure of the individual to traumatic situations.
How does an alexitimico?
The diagnosis of alexithymia is usually done from observation (and self-observation) behavior of the subject in different situations in which the recognition of their own emotions guarantees a successful coping. In addition to the basic component of alexithymia, inability to recognize their own emotions, is often found in this type of people some of the following behaviors also considered characteristic of the profile of people alexitimicas are:

Low capacity for introspection and fantasies; they are people with a very low inner life. They have a minimal tendency to fantasy.
They do not detect or recognize emotions in others. Lack of empathy.
They seem serious and boring.
They speak very little.
They are too practical and rational. Their cognitive style (way of thinking) is oriented towards the external and the concrete.
They show an important difficulty in handling the affections; establish and maintain affective links costs. This fact makes them to develop inappropriate relationships characterized by emotional dependency or social isolation.
Sexual problems; absence of desire or impotence.
They are impulsive; react disproportionately to emotions that they themselves are unable to identify.
They are person conformists.

The scale of Toronto is the method most used to support the observation clinic diagnosis of alexithymia without in any case replace the mentioned process.
Causes of alexithymia
Many authors argue that alexithymia is a concept of range, since not all people have it in the same degree, and in small doses may be relatively frequent. According to the Spanish society of Neurology, it is estimated that 10% of the population suffers from it, arising, according to existing studies, more frequently in males.
"Their pathological dose" is a disorder that mainly affects people who suffer from some type of neurological deficit or disorder psychiatric addictions or affective disorders (depression, cyclothymia, etc). This disorder has a high incidence rate (80-90%) in autism spectrum disorders.
Alexithymia can be classified into two types based on their causes: primary or secondary.
Primary alexithymia
It responds to biological causes. They are often neurological deficits which interfere with communication between the limbic system (involved in emotions) and the neocortex (involved in our reason), either, that hinder communication between the cerebral hemispheres; left responsible for the production of language and the right to charge regular and put a name to emotions.
Primary alexithymia may be due to heredity, manifesting itself in this case since childhood; or appear as a result of a neurological disease, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's, or as a cause of stroke, trauma or brain tumors.
Secondary alexithymia
Is it due to traumatic causes which have place in certain evolutionary times or when the person has been subjected to intense traumatic situations in adult life (e.g. child abuse). Many of these people suffer from a disorder by post-traumatic stress (TEP), which explains their symptoms. Besides with the TEP, the alexithymia can appear in other psychopathological disorders such as depression, disorders (anorexia and bulimia), addictions...
You can also, due to a disorder in the affected emotional learning.
Treatment of alexithymia
The patients alexitimicos usually attend treatment pressured by the people surrounding them, as they are people who really suffer from its symptoms. Treatment of alexithymia You should consider the use of techniques that help to the plaintiff to identify their emotions, at the same time that it provides strategies that allow you to graduate their emotions depending on the magnitude of stressful events, reviewing their current coping style. In this way will increase the emotional vocabulary of the patient, allowing you to differentiate between different gradients of emotion depending on circumstances (for example may be nostalgic, sad, of downturn or depressed).
In general the treatment of alexithymia is based on the cognitive development of emotional awareness. I.e., the main objective of the treatment will be help the patient to recognize and name your emotions. To do so, the patient must learn to follow these steps when it comes to understand and regulate your emotions:

Detecting his emotion or other emotions: "I'm sad."
Assimilate emotion: ability to take into account our own emotions when it comes to carrying out a certain reasoning or decision making. For example, you should be able to say "you spoke so because he was angry".
Understand: understand the different emotional signals, such as the feeling of tension that announces that we are angrier.
Regulate emotions: through the knowledge of different strategies of emotional control through psycho-educational strategies (e.g. reading) and behavior modification specific techniques (for example imitating the behavior of a person acting as a model, social skills training, etc).

Alexithymia from childhood prevention
The expression and regulation of emotions is part of a learning process that takes place along the evolutionary development of the child. Help the children to learn to identify their emotions and others is a fundamental task that parents can do to prevent cases of secondary alexithymia. For this purpose it is important to allow the child the expression of their emotions so we then teach you to regulate them. To achieve this, the communication style between the small and the Popes must be direct, expressing respect for the emotional States of the kid, combined with a clear educational guidelines that help you manage it at all times.
To enhance the emotional education in children, parents can help materials as elaborated that in game format to teach them to express and to regulate different emotions. Example of these are 'The Bingo of emotion' or 'Rabid animals', the publishing house TEA. The stories and metaphors are also excellent tools that help children understand their feelings of hand of fantasy.
We must also take into account that the parents are the main models of affection for children. We can not claim that a child express emotions if we ourselves do not. Parents who hide their emotions teach their children to repress them. Therefore, it is appropriate that the family environment is an open and appropriate expression of affection.
Published for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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